Some years we get little or no frost in the garden, but this year we have already had a few and there are more to come in the next few days – and no doubt more uncertain weather for the next few months. This is great news for the general health of the garden, but less so for some of the more tender plants. Four years ago we had frost and snow that hung around for some time and the agapanthus in large pots have only just recovered from being frozen – and then covered in snow for several days. This caused the crowns to rot and although I rescued them that spring by cutting away the rotted areas, they have barely flowered in the intervening three years, so I decided that some preventative measures were required.
Unexpected snow 4 years ago nearly killed large pots of agapanthus
Hard frosts in the past few days have left unprotected plants looking a bit miserable – this Zantedeschia was flat on the ground first thing in the morning and although it has recovered temporarily, it will need a cover before nightfall
Bracken and wire netting protection
Whenever possible I prefer to use dry bracken and wire netting as it is unobtrusive, but most of the bracken has yet to die back so I have resorted to using fleece plant covers. They do look decidedly odd and definitely lack aesthetic appeal, but they are quite easy to whip on and off, so once this current cold spell has passed I may remove them. On the other hand they are insurance against any unexpected freezes, so they may stay in place. The great advantage of a walled garden is that it’s less aesthetic moments are hidden from view.
There’s a new year promise of a totally blight-free outdoor tomato from Suttons Seeds. If you, like me, have watched you lovely fat tomatoes – just on the point of ripening – succumb to the dreaded blight, you will be as keen as I am to try them. ‘Crimson Crush’ is resistant to all common blight strains in the UK and is reported to carry a good crop of large flavoursome fruit. You can order 3 plants for £7.99 from January 9th onwards.
Titus decided to get into the festive spirit while we were in the garden and climb up into one of the holly bushes – I’m just hoping he doesn’t decide to practice his climbing skills on the Christmas tree when I bring it indoors tomorrow and decorate with the help of my 4 year old grandson. Even if the decorations are all round the bottom of the tree it will be well illuminated because I finally threw away all the old lights last January and ordered new ones in the sale – and I’ve just found them – as well as the ones I bought the year before and didn’t find in time!
Camellia ‘Quintessence’ is the perfect camellia for growing in a container. It is slow growing with a spreading habit and will never grow taller than 1.25m. Its white flowers are delicately flushed with pink and have a light but distinct scent. My plant has been growing happily in a pot for the past ten years.
Carolyn Dunster absolutely loves roses – she trained in floristry so that she could arrange them, she trained as a garden designer so she could plant gardens filled with them, and then started a company, Simply Roses, selling the very best rose-related products to other rose enthusiasts. At this time of year her deliciously scented Rosa damascena hand wash, floral water and candle perfectly evoke the delicious tea rose scent of mid summer.