Harsh winter’s taken its toll!

Posted by Richard Jackson on April 14, 2011

Last winter really did take its toll. As plants burst into life this spring, we’re beginning to discover just how many have been killed by the cold.

I’ve lost three evergreen jasmines and my beautiful ball shaped bays. At Wisley gardens in Surrey, I hear that they’ve lost all their New Zealand Flax (phormiums) and around the country there are reports of many dead cordylines.

Some people, in sheltered areas, have fared much better. When I filmed with Carolyn Whetman in her beautiful Dawlish garden in March (that’s us and ace cameraman Dave in the picture), I was staggered to see an established, old gnarled olive tree growing outdoors and it was totally unscathed. Against a wall, Carolyn proudly showed me a chilean bellflower (lapageria rosea) that was happily producing new shoots- and that’s a plant I thought would only survive in a heated greenhouse over winter!

It’s been a bit of a shock to lose my plants but I’m still going to replace them with exactly the same varieties. It’s a risk, I know, but one I’m happy to take. The pleasure they’ll give me is more than worth it. But I’m buying some horticultural fleece to cover them if needed. Next winter, I’m planning to be one ahead of the cold snap!

Happy gardening.