Tucked up Against the Coming Cold3rd February 2014 • In The Garden • Stephanie Donaldson
Sure enough, no sooner have I spotted ill-advised young shoots on my lemon verbena than the forecasters finally start telling us that much colder weather is on the way. When the lemon verbena is fully dormant it survives well – it’s growing in very free-draining sandy soil against a sheltered west facing wall with protection from the mimosa tree – but if frost gets to those young shoots it could do serious damage to the plant. Action was required – I suppose bubble wrap or fleece might have done the trick, but the bush is near the front door and next to the raised area where my pots of iris reticulata are in full flower, so I wanted something that wouldn’t spoil the view. A quick trawl around the garden resulted in two pieces of wire netting and a couple of armfuls of dried bracken harvested from some ferns. I lay the netting on the ground spread a generous layer of bracken on each and then wrapped the newly-formed blankets round the verbena and tied them in place. Some of the taller branches are still protruding, but the majority of the plant is now protected from the worst of the weather.