Six On Saturday: I’m not enjoying this cold weather

I thought I would get straight to the point. It has been misty, foggy, and damp week with cold winds. March is not inspiring me to get out into the garden. And when I do step outside I am greeted by more signs of frost damage. A scene to awful to share is the brown curled up mass that used be a well established clump of erigeron karvinskianus. The RHS give it H5 for hardiness. This means hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10). I can only hope that somewhere underneath the browness there are some fresh shoots emerging. This is the fifth winter in the new garden and this is the first time there has been so much damage from the cold weather. I am thinking it is a combination of the very cold weather followed by some early morning sun. Here’s what I am sharing this week.

One

Cold or not, there are jobs to done and last week I carried out a very modest land grab from the lawn. The motivation for this audacious activity was borne out of an idle moment. On looking out of the window I realised that the transition between flower garden and veg patch was not a pretty one. I decided on impulse that an arch was needed to break up the view. With more impulsivity I immediately ordered a rusted steel ornamental arch. Of course the arch needed a certain width of garden space and the border was not quite wide enough. Manic digging took place, pavers re-positioned and an empty trench needing top soil was the result. This tiny corner border now has a little more substance to it. At the end of last week I did get round to dividing the snowdrops and I have filled one corner of the trench with some of the divisions. My local nursery has just opened again so I am planning a daring and thrilling visit to purchase some top soil. I am also consulting my SOS wish list to see what plants I need.

Two

I also tackled another border this week, which is probably why I am so moany about cold weather! I decided that the very back of the garden is too shady to grow vegetables and so a shade-happy selection of plants was ordered. I am not very good at fitting in that all important evergreen structural layer but this time I have included some hart’s tongue ferns. These were planted out last autumn and with a H6 for hardiness they are unscathed. They have been joined this week by tiarella cordifolia, hosta undulata var. albomarginata aka Thomas Hogg and Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Alba’. When (if) they break through, I will also add in some thalictrum delavayi ‘Album’. I am currently also using this border to store a small hydrangea and a blackcurrant bush – as you do when you move something and don’t quite know what to do with it.

Three

The north border of the garden was planted up about a year ago with three sturdy specimens of pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’. Hardiness rating H3, since you ask. This means ‘ -5 to 1 degrees centigrade, half-hardy – unheated glasshouse / mild winter’ in the UK. Which may explain why they look like this now. Oh well, perhaps they will respond to a good trim when the time comes.

Four

I hope I am not tempting fate, but the delphinium seedlings which overwintered in an unheated greenhouse have started to put out their new shoots. I sowed seeds saved from the purple ones in the garden. It’s a balance between turning a plant soft and losing it but I have decided they can stay inside for a little longer.

Five

Sorry, it’s another oh dear! Gardening can be very trying at times. Fifth winter here, as I might have mentioned, and in the first summer I planted four euphorbia characias subspwulfenii to form the centre piece to the long border. One of them is doing stupendously – the background filler. Two of them are ticking over quite well and one just suffers – the foreground. So much suffering in fact, that I have had to replace it twice. Fortunately there is always a seedling to hand and so on we go. One day I will give up, my symmetry will be abandoned, and I will plant something that likes this particular spot. I just wish I knew what is so bad about this particular spot.

Six

While I am finding it all rather cold, the hydrangeas are pushing on and are begging to be cut back. Surely not you fools, there will be a frost and your fresh green buds will drop off. Please do not tempt me. I am going to ignore you for another week. There are dahlias to pot up first.

I had a little fun with word press this week – living dangerously again – and used a large drop cap! I do need to get out more. I am sure the Prop has been out and about as will have other SOSers. To take a peek at all the garden news on offer just stop by The Propagator’s site. All the links are there.

13 thoughts on “Six On Saturday: I’m not enjoying this cold weather

  1. I believe that here too it’s the first winter for 4 or 5 years where there is damage on the plants … No chances because I had a lot of hopes for certain plants…
    I’m like you, I’m afraid for the hydrangea new buds … They will wait for a week or 2 before being pruned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the feeling. I hate to be a fair weather gardener but I am much happier when the sun is shining down on me. Love these ideas we suddenly get about our gardens like your arch. Sounds like you have been productive despite the gloom!

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  3. My commiserations re the frost/cold damage to plants. I’ve lost a few too, and others are looking less than pretty, to say the least. I like your audacious landgrab (I’ve been accused of the same), some decisions in gardening are best made impulsively! And your euphorbia characias look stunning, maybe apart from the one in front that doesn’t like that particular spot – perhaps it feels cowed by the splendour of the others. Nice shady border planting ideas btw.

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  4. Our hydrangeas just got pruned. It is late for them here. A few years ago, they had never been pruned properly. Now, they are generating new canes from the base as they should, so the old canes can ‘finally’ get cut out. Yours seem to be exemplary, with more canes than ours get in the shade.

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      • So you know what I mean! Few people prune them aggressively enough. I have been tempted to cut some of them to the ground to rejuvenate them, but do not want to miss the bloom for a year. Instead, I just cut out more older canes annually. Most hydrangeas cooperate, and generate more new canes in response, so there are more new canes to work with each year.

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  5. The only way to avoid winter damage is to be a very unadventurous gardener. I’m looking regretfully at my half dead Lorapetalum and trying to convince myself I did the right thing leaving it out. Most things recover. Your Erigeron will probably produce seedlings even if the parent doesn’t come back.

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  6. The delphiniums are looking promising. I relate to the relief of givinup vegetables after the long struggle and planting selections that will actually appreciate the shade. Strange about the euphorbias – so close together, but such different results! Amazing how much variation in growing conditions is possible within a relatively small area.

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