…it is snow!
I’ve been gardening quite late on in the season this year, but the weekend weather could be a subtle hint from mother nature that it’s time to stop. For a few weeks now we’ve had lower temperatures than we’ve been used to before Christmas, and torrential overnight rain turned to snow on Sunday morning. Mind you, we’ve mostly got away with it here on the north banks of the Severn Estuary. It’s been bitterly cold the past few days, but the snow didn’t amount to much here, while I know of several people elsewhere in the country who have been snowed in, or stuck at an airport while the planes were grounded. Ours is an exceptionally mild part of the country. Although I do remember one winter a few years ago when we had thick snow on the ground for several weeks. And I’m wondering whether this winter is going to be a cold one too. And whether, if it is, my Australian plants are going to make it through to next spring.
Melaleuca Squarrosa (centre) gets its first taste of British snow
The Melaleuca squarrosa, one of a few that I grew from seeds bought in Australia, seemed to have settled quite nicely in the hot bed – it even produced a few flowers this year. It’s a native of South East Australia and Tasmania. The packet says it’s tolerant of snow, frost, shade and poor drainage – we shall see!
We’ve still got Canna lilies struggling to hold on and produce more flowers, despite the cold weather, but I think the balance has tipped now. Last year I left quite a few in the beds, unprotected, because from just two plants a couple of years ago, we had more than we knew what to do with. They survived the winter, and came back even stronger this year. They may not survive in the ground this winter. But we have got a greenhouse full, so hopefully we won’t be without Cannas next year. My favourite Canna is Wyoming – tall, dark and handsome, with gorgeous bright orange flowers.
The Penstemons just don’t know when to stop!
So what jobs need to be done in the garden at this time of year? Well, if the current weather conditions persist, only one:
Words and pictures copyright Graham Wright 2017