Posts Tagged ‘Shrubs’

Wrapping and Rolling!

Posted by editor on Thursday, 29 November 2018

Now is the time to tackle those critical early winter tasks before the really cold weather comes in.  Firstly get more shrubs for free without the need for a glasshouse or heated propagators by taking your own hardwood cuttings (it’s so easy) and protect your most sensitive plants or risk losing them to the coming frosts

Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs such as Salix, Cornus, Buddleias and Philadelphus, and from fruit bushes such as gooseberries and black currants as well as rambling and climbing roses.

After leaf fall take pencil thick cuttings, about 25cm long of new growth – you can insert them directly into the soil or – our favourite method – use an empty compost sack or thick black polythene to make a roll as in the picture.  Add some perlite for drainage and make holes in the bottom of the roll to stop water from collecting there and causing them to rot.

Stand your cuttings in the corner of the garden and wait for them to root, check them every couple of weeks to make sure they are not drying out- Cornus and Buddleia will root quickly but other shrubs make take a few months.

If you can’t lift your tender plants and take them into a greenhouse there are many ways to protect them in situ.   Wrap with horticultural fleece, cover with cloches or bigger leaves, or making simple structures.  We took these photos, below, at Nymans Gardens at Handcross where the gardeners regularly employ all these methods to put their tender plants to bed before the winter rain, frost and snow.






Coastal and Mediterranean Gardening

Posted by editor on Thursday, 16 March 2017

Being Brighton gardeners we’re very conscious of the challenges that face those of us with exposed or  southern coastal gardens. A year or two back we visited the amazing Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the Isle of Wight and met Irene Fletcher who worked at the Ventnor Botanic Gardens and who, over the years, has designed and made a number of coastal gardens on the Isle of Wight and in Sussex.

We thought that now might be a useful time to recap on her advice. At the time Irene showed us many slides depicting everything possible for coastal growing from low spreading succulents to fluffy acacias and epic echiums – she also had a few useful pictures of planting that didn’t work in exposed and chalky sites.

Valerian (centranthus ruber)

Ventnor Botanic Gardens has a stunning Mediterranean garden built on terraces where the soil had earlier been removed to make beds elsewhere in the gardens. Plants there grow in very free-draining chalk and rubble, and are planted to show how they thrive naturally in the wild rather than purely for decoration. The garden has a shelter belt of trees and hedges and is backed by higher ground so has its own microclimate, even within the mildness and optimum light levels of the Isle of Wight.

Irene identified the main characteristics that protect plants from the desiccating effects of sun and salt winds:

*      narrow leaves

*      with waxy or farinaceous layers

*      perhaps covered in tiny white hairs that trap salt

*      white surfaces to reflect the sun and prevent burning

*      aromatic – containing volatile oils that help stop the leaves shrivelling and being eaten

*      flexible stems that bend rather than snap in strong winds

*      shrubs typically have secondary buds in the leaf axil so that if the first set of leaves are damaged others grow readily all along the stems

*      tubular flowers protect the pollen

*      other flower forms may look flimsy, but they are rapidly replaced over a long season to give the plants a good chance of setting seed.

We learnt that salt spray can travel up to 10 miles inland in very windy weather (!) and, settling on leaves, draws out the moisture (reverse osmosis) leading to brown marks and shrivelling.

Yellow horned poppy (glaucium flavum)

Another good tip was that small species tulips from Greece and Turkey, and gladiolus byzantinus, are suited to dry baking sites, unlike our native bulbs. Also, plant Mediterranean herbs like lavender and rosemary in the spring as they do not like to start with their roots in cold or winter wet. All the plants Irene mentioned do better on poor well-drained conditions and may be short-lived if your soil is too well-nurtured. They include many of the native species that thrive and self-seed along the south coast in shingle beaches or chalk cliffs – horned poppy (glaucium flavum), hardy annual poppies, wild thyme, wild carrot, sea cabbage, valerian (centranthus ruber) – as well as more unusual ones from New Zealand and South Africa as well as all around the Mediterranean.

I went away with pages of plant names, many of which I realise are the ones that do best in my garden, so instead of finding them a bit too reliable and boring I am going to treasure them!

Words: by Julia Widdows


Spring Greens at Denmans Garden

Posted by editor on Sunday, 23 March 2014

A slightly unscheduled visit to Denmans Garden on a grey mid-February day still gave us plenty to look at. Denmans, in West Sussex, is a 4-acre garden owned by garden designer and writer John Brookes and Michael Neve. The sheltered Walled Garden is the first area, where curving gravel paths flow seamlessly between curving gravel beds. In summer this sunny spot is full of old roses, perennials, and self-seeded but – I suspect – carefully weeded colour, but in winter it was much barer, leaving the beautiful shapes of the small trees and the topiary much more evident. Prunus lusitanica was interestingly clipped into a large formal shape. There were snowdrops, aconites, hellebores, and primulas in flower and furry buds on magnolias. The Walled Garden is not very big, but is further divided into areas of planting, seating and focal points, any of which could be inspiration for a small urban garden.

Next is a much larger, more open, grassy area and more gravel forming a ‘dry stream bed’ – though no water runs there – sweeping down to a well-shaped natural pool. The stream bed allows for more random planting, and the gravel ‘allows seedlings to overwinter and not rot. The following year they are thinned or edited, to allow groupings to mature.’ Already interesting shoots were beginning to poke through, and clumps of bulbs in the grass, which is kept at various different levels.

Winter-flowering shrubs looked good: witch hazels (hamamelis), winter honeysuckle (lonicera fragrantissima) and wintersweet (chimonanthus praecox) and viburnum tinus. So were the bare coloured stems of cornus in an open site. At the south end of the garden a stand of viburnum rhytidophyllum shrubs were looking rather brown and sad, but a wind-break of fir trees had been partly cut down or maybe damaged, and round the corner in a sheltered, deeply shady area another specimen was looking very handsome and healthy. The heavily-textured leaves really showed up without lots of later-season growth or flower colour to distract, as did the neat winter frameworks of small deciduous shrubs placed in front of larger dark evergreens. Even the yellow-variegated eleagnus looked very healthy, vivid and handsome in the dull grey light, instead of a bit garish! Bark texture and colour were displayed like wonderful textiles on acer griseum and an unusual birch tree with pinkish-gold peeling bark below and glowing white above.

Viburnum x rhytidophyllum

Elaeagnus pungens ‘Variegata’

In one very shady woodland area the elegant single snowdrop (galanthus nivalis) grew profusely under trees, with arum italicum pictum threading through, along with well-tended clumps of dark purple and slate hellebores and small very fragrant daphnes.

In the last garden area between Denmans Cottage and The Clock House, where John Brookes has his studio, there are larger trees and shrubs, including more magnolias, all beautifully shaped and given room to spread their arms. The whole garden clearly has very carefully chosen specimens, which is why the interest works year round.

Denmans is open daily all year, and has an interesting plant centre and a cafe. It is just off the A27, half a mile west of the Fontwell roundabout.

Check website for details

Written by: Julia Widdows

Main image: arum italicum pictum /

Plant of the Month: Sarcococca confusa

Posted by editor on Saturday, 7 December 2013

Sarcococca confusa (sweet box) is a species of flowering plant in the family Buxaceae, related to the common box and probably native to western China.

This fantastic evergreen shrub, growing to 1m (spread 2m), gives a fountain of green all year round and is a must for the winter or woodland garden or shady border, particularly when under-planted with cyclamen or hellebores. To fully appreciate the fabulous, vanilla-like fragrance plant in moist, well-drained soil close to an entrance or path.

It has simple and lustrous dark green leaves and almost inconspicuous, very sweetly scented, creamy-white flowers from December to March.  The flowers are followed by red, purple or blue-black berries which may persist into the following winter.

S. confusa is one of the largest and bushiest of all the sweet box but is still ideal for as neat, clipped edging borders and works well in containers. It is fully hardy, compact and will eventually form a dense thicket. It has a suckering habit so keep this in check.

  • Likes partial or full shade, any sheltered aspect
  • Moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist, well- drained soil
  • In late-winter or early-spring lightly trim or prune back shoots that spoil the plant’s symmetry
  • After pruning apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the plant.

Photo: ‪

Garden House Plant Fair Weekend, 11 & 12th May

Posted by editor on Sunday, 5 May 2013

 Next weekend we’re joining in the spirit of the Brighton Festival, but in a uniquely Garden House way!  Visit us on 11 & 12 May, 11am-6pm, for a wonderful weekend of specialist plant buying.

We have invited many of the best Sussex nurseries to bring along many of their wonderful and often ‘hard to get hold of’ plants – trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables and succulents.   This is the perfect time to top up and refresh your planting plans, and the growers will be on hand to offer their knowledgeable advice as to the selection of right plant, right place!


We also have a small selection of makers selling ironwork, plant supports, pots, restored garden tools and a variety of garden paraphernalia.

Plus a pop-up cafe selling delicious homemade food – and a plant swop – bring along a plant to exchange!

  • Blueleaf plants – wonderful succulents
  • Big Plants – exotics
  • Garden House plants – shrubs, perennials and annuals
  • Paul Seabourne – perennials and annuals
  • Sussex Prairie – grasses and perennials
From left: Lorraine Philpot, Adele Scantlebury, Chris Burchell Collins


  • Adele Scantlebury – woodblock prints
  • Amanda Saurin – specially made Garden House soaps and scrubs
  • Chris Burchell Collins – contemporary nature-influenced ironwork
  • Deborah Goodwin – all manner of gifts and garden paraphernalia
  • Ian Swain – beautifully restored tools and garden equipment
  • Lorraine Philpot – naturalistic ironwork garden supports

Bring friends and family, and enjoy a great day out!

Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT

Valentine’s Day, and thinking of roses…

Posted by editor on Saturday, 11 February 2012

Here at The Garden House we have many lovely roses – climbers, shrubs, ramblers, miniatures – we’re passionate about them!  But we also know that roses carry a certain mystique with regard to care – when to prune, how to prune, when to feed, with what etc…

If you know someone who would love to know more about roses and their care, why not buy them a Garden House Voucher (£10 upwards)?  The Voucher can be put towards any workshop, course or garden visit – but would be especially appropriate right now put towards our “All You Need to Know About Roses” workshop, taking place Saturday 2 June. The workshop will be led by rose expert Simon White of Peter Beales nursery in Norfolk.

Contact us now and we can email a voucher to you before the 14th…!

If you’re thinking of planting some new roses this spring, remember that, as with all plants, it is so important to consider ‘right plant, right place’ – below is a list of some of our favourites:

Climbers for north-facing walls:

R. ‘Alberic Barbier’ AGM (Climber/Rambler). Flowers rich cream, apple fragrance, some repeat flowering, some winter leaf persistence. Ht 6m (20ft).

R. ‘Dortmund’ AGM (Climber). Single, blood-red flowers; repeat-flowering. Ht 2m (6½ft).

R. ‘Félicité Perpétue’ AGM (Climber/Rambler). White flowers, buds tinged red, some winter leaf persistence. Ht 5m (17ft).

Very vigorous roses for climbing into trees:

R. filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ AGM (Rambler). Slightly fragrant; one flowering period; creamy white flowers. Ht10m (30ft).

R. longicuspis (Climber). Slightly fragrant; one flowering period; white flowers; semi-evergreen, tender. Ht 6m (20ft).

R. ‘Seagull’ AGM (Climber/rambler). Slightly fragrant; one flowering period; white flowers with golden stamens. Ht 4.5m (15ft).

Roses for training up pillars: (Need to be flexible-stemmed, produce flowers at the ends of all current seasons growth, and preferably be of moderate vigour.)

R. ‘Compassion’ AGM (Climber/Rambler). Double, fragrant, repeat flowering; pink, shaded apricot blooms. Ht 2.4m (8ft)

R. ‘Danse de Feu’ (Climber) Double; repeat flowering; orange to scarlet flowers. Ht 2.4m (8ft)

R. ‘Golden Showers’ AGM (Climber/Rambler). Double; fragrant; repeat flowering; golden yellow blooms. Ht 2.1m (7ft).

Patio climbers are useful for smaller structures up to 3m (10ft) or so high: In a sunny spot, try pale cream, pink-tinged ‘Penny Lane’ (‘Hardwell’), or mauve-pink, heavily-scented ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ (‘Ausbord’).

Roses with ornamental foliage:

R. ‘Highdownensis’. Large, single crimson flowers, ferny leaves. Ht 3m (10ft).

R. multibracteata. Pink, single flowers; neat rounded leaflets. Ht 3m (10ft).

R. primula AGM. Pale, small, yellow flowers; shiny aromatic leaves; one flowering period. Ht 1.8m (6ft).

R.  sericea var. pteracantha. Red thorns; creamy-white flowers; small ferny leaves. Ht 2.4m (6ft).

Some roses suitable for hedges:

R. ‘Cornelia’ AGM. Double, fragrant apricot pink blooms. Repeat flowering. Ht 1.5m (5ft)

R. ‘Roseraie de l’ Hay’ AGM. Double, fragrant wine red blooms. Repeat flowering. Ht 2.1m (7ft).

R. ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’. Semi-double, fragrant carmine pink flowers. Thornless and repeat flowering. Ht 3m (10ft).

Roses with very decorative autumn hips:

R. ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ AGM. Silvery pink single flowers; large red fruit. Ht 90cm (3ft).

R. rubrifolia.  Pink flowers once a year; scarlet globular hips. Ht 2.1m (7ft).

R. rugosa. Cerise or white flowers once a year; scarlet globular hips. Ht 1.8m (6ft).

Roses for ground cover:

R. ‘Nozomi’ AGM. Single pink flowers; one flowering period. Ht 30cm (1ft) and spread 1.5m (5ft).

R. Snow Carpet ‘Maccarpe’ Single, double white flowers throughout summer. Ht 15cm (6in) and spread 90cm (3ft).

R. Surrey = ’Korlanum’AGM. Double pink blooms from early summer until late autumn. Ht 60–90cm (2-3ft) and spread 90cm-1.2m (3-4ft).


Plant of the Month: Garrya eliptica

Posted by editor on Friday, 13 January 2012

Garrya eliptica is more commonly known as the Silk Tassel Bush, an excellent evergreen shrub providing a long period of interest throughout the winter, and especially good for January colour. It has attractive leathery leaves and from November to February produces decorative silky tassel-like grey-green catkins measuring 20-25cm long, a wonderful sight on a cold winter’s morning.

Garrya should be grown in more sheltered sites, in a shrub border or against a wall, in full sun or partial shade – it will thrive in any soil. It is fully hardy, will tolerate pollution and is well suited to coastal conditions and may even tolerate temperatures as low as -10 c. Height and spread of 4m (12ft) x 4m (12ft)

It was named after Nicholas Garry, Secretary of the Hudson’s Bay Company who assisted David Douglas in his explorations of the Pacific North-West in the 1820s, and can be found growing naturally in woodland in western USA, Central America and the West Indies. The name eliptica means eliptic, referring to the shape of the leaves. There are 13 species in the genus, the females produce purple brown berries on separate plants from the male, but the male catkins are what make this plant so appealing.

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a particular favourite – a lovely form with dark sea-green, slightly larger leaves and silver-grey catkins up to 20cm (8in) long.

Pruning, if needed, should be done in mid spring to remove shoots that spoil symmetry and dead or damaged growth.  It can be susceptible to fungal leaf spot and also wind burn.


Plant of the Month: Daphne

Posted by editor on Friday, 18 March 2011

Daphnes are invariably grown for their delightfully fragrant flowers, which most have in abundance, but some are grown for their foliage, fruit, or upright, rounded or prostrate habit.

Daphne as a genus consists of about 50 deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen species, from Europe, North Africa and Asia. Their natural habitats range from lowland woodlands to mountains. There are many species and cultivars in cultivation, and some are at their best in the depths of winter, when there is little else to compete with.

  • Family – Thymelaeaceae
  • Height & spread – 1.5m (5ft) high and wide
  • Soil – Moderately fertile, humus rich, well-drained soil
  • Aspect – Full shade to open
  • Hardiness – Hardy in some areas, may require protection in winter

Of the deciduous cultivars D. bholua var. glacialis ‘Gurkha’ displays pink-flushed white flowers. Another Daphne that flowers without the obstruction of leaves is D. mezereum, or mezereon as it is sometimes called. A flush of colour appears in late winter through into early spring before the leaves begin to grow. The purplish pink blooms, or white in the case of D. mezereum f. alba, cover the spreading stems that can reach up to 1.2m (4ft).

Daphne odora is a rounded evergreen shrub and another wonderfully scented example that flowers in the winter and early spring. It has clusters of white flowers edged with carmine and darkly glossy evergreen leaves.

The cultivar ‘Aureomarginata’ AGM has leaves with narrow, irregular yellow margins, it was awarded an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) for its scented flowers and variegated foliage. It bears fragrant, deep purple-pink and white flowers, to 1.5cm (1/2 in) across, in terminal, sometimes axillary clusters of 10-15 or more, from midwinter to early spring. These are followed by fleshy, spherical red fruit.

The hardiness varies as well as the leaf retention, flowering period and shade tolerance.

Daphnes grow well in borders or in woodland settings and once planted do not like to be moved. They will also perform well in containers. To gain the maximum pleasure from growing daphnes, plant them near paths and buildings where both the sight and scent of their flowers can be easily admired and appreciated.

The inner bark of the daphne can be used to make good quality paper, and rope. All parts of the plant are poisonous and skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in some people.


Daphne prefers a cool lime-free well-drained sandy loam and a sunny position.

It succeeds in neutral soils and tolerates partial shade. Some species also succeed in quite deep shade. At least some forms, especially the sub-species D. bholua var. glacialis tolerate alkaline soils. It flowers well when grown in dry shade, and likes plenty of moisture in the growing season.

It grows well in urban areas, tolerating the atmospheric pollution. Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible. Keep pruning to a minimum.

Aphids, leaf spot, grey mould (Botrytis) and viruses may be a problem.

Photo credit:

Our trip to Anglesey Abbey…

Posted by editor on Monday, 14 February 2011

We enjoyed fine weather and great company on our Garden House visit to Anglesey Abbey last Saturday. “Just to say thank you for a wonderful day out, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your organisation and hospitality is matchless. I am so glad I was able to come along!” Vicky D.

We love Angie B’s sketches of the winter garden, and Mandy D. wrote the following piece:

As winter slowly turns to spring no plant lover should miss the chance to visit the glorious winter display at Anglesey Abbey.  Situated not far from Cambridge (not on the Island of Anglesey as most of my friends thought!) this National Trust property and gardens boasts one of the most beautiful and varied winter gardens I have ever seen.

A short walk from the Visitors Centre leads you to the start of the winter garden walk which, even if you did not notice the signs, can be found by following the intoxicating smell of the Sweet Box (Sarcococca), that line the first part of the walkway.

These are swiftly followed by glorious Viburnum, pale pink and sweetly scented, the delightful small yellow winter Aconites and the gorgeous blues of Iris reticulata and deep pinks of Cyclamen coum.

And that’s not all – for those Galanthophiles amongst you (snowdrop lovers to the rest of us!), the Abbey gardens boast over 200 varieties of snowdrop (Galanthus), some labelled and therefore identifiable along the main path and many others in gentle drifts that meander through the woodlands and other areas.  My favourite was Galanthus plicatus ‘Hobsons Choice’ (wondered why I picked that one) and another variety named after Anglesey Abbey itself.

And finally, for stunning shrubs and trees, nothing can beat their display of Cornus – reds, greens and yellows – and the glade of Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis ‘jacquemontii’), with its ghostly white bark and statuesque structure, making all who came across them pause, reflect and for some, stay until the sun went down…

If you add to this a lovely sunny day, good company and even a rainbow on our return, it was the perfect day.   Thanks weather fairy…

Anglesey Abbey: Quy Road, Lode, Cambridge CB25 9EJ / Tel. 01223 810080

Plant of the month: Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’

Posted by editor on Friday, 10 December 2010

There are many shrubs that will add colour through these darker winter months, including dogwoods (Cornus) which, if pruned hard in the spring, produce fantastically coloured young stems the following winter as the leaves fall.

A great choice is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ which has rich orange, red and yellow stems and forms a thick, suckering shrub. This cultivar looks really vibrant wonderful on a clear sunny day.

  • Common name: Common dogwood, common cornel
  • Family: Cornaceae
  • Height & spread: Up to 1.5m x 0.8m
  • Form: Upright deciduous shrub
  • Soil: Tolerates a wide range of soils and locations, but prefers moist soil
  • Aspect: Full sun for best winter stem colour
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy to -15˚C (5F)

The original plant of this selection of Cornus sanguinea was discovered in a German garden by H. Venhorst in about 1980, but wasn’t named ‘Midwinter Fire’ until 1990.

It is a very robust shrub that spreads by suckering to fill spaces. Its winter colour is shown to greatest effect when grown in front of a dark background, also when grown with other colourful dogwoods with contrasting stem colours.

The young stems are a brilliant orange-yellow from autumn through to spring, with red tints on the sunnier sides of the stems. As the new leaves appear, the stems turn a yellow-green, bearing bright green leaves that can turn a brilliant yellow in autumn. White flowers, borne in dense flat cymes, are produced in summer followed by dull blue-black fruit.

Cultivation: Will grow in a wide range of soils and locations, but will give the best winter stem colour if grown in full sun. It is ideal for growing alongside a pond or stream as it prefers moister soils.

To maintain good winter stem colour, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ should be pruned down to 2-3 buds above the base in spring. To maintain a good framework only a third of the stems should be pruned each year, and these should be the oldest stems each time.

Propagation: Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is ideal for taking hardwood cuttings from in autumn.

To see this amazing plant in all its glory join us for our visit to Anglesey Abbey in February – see DIARY on this website for more info.

How to deal with a snowy garden!

Posted by editor on Thursday, 2 December 2010

When did we last have snow in early December?!  Last year it was January, the year before, April – this is becoming a regular if rather unpredictable occurrence!

So wonderful whilst it’s looking fresh, treacherous underfoot when it gets icy – and downright disaster for the garden if you didn’t prepare in good time (I didn’t!)…

On the plus side, it’s a great insulator, and it melts to provide much needed water to dry plants in the winter. However, heavy snow and ice build up can cause devastating damage in the garden if limbs and trunks bend or break. Even hardy plants and tough evergreens can also be damaged by prolonged spells of severe cold when soil becomes frozen.

To protect (I know too late this time, but worth remembering!):

  • Tie up plants: Before the snow, use plant netting to tie up the branches of your conifers and soft shrubs, to prevent them from being misshapen or broken by snow. Tie them in a cone shape, to deflect snow off to the sides.
  • Move containers: Put planters and containers under a shed or porch during snow and ice storms to keep freezing water from expanding and breaking containers.
  • Prevent your pond freezing over: Place a rubber ball in any outdoor ponds to prevent them icing over completely, then remove to allow oxygen into the water.

Post heavy snow:

  • Look after your garden birds: Don’t forget to put out extra food out, clearing snow and ice off bird-tables – and most important, fresh water – if possible de-ice your bird-baths and top up with fresh water.
  • Take care clearing paths: Be careful not to pile snow on your plants when clearing paths as it will then need to be removed and might do damage you can’t prevent.
  • Avoid Salt: Salt can damage lawns and plants when it runs off your driveway. If your plants have been exposed to salt, water and rinse them well as soon as temperatures are above freezing. Next time, use sand or clay-based kitty litter instead of salt.
  • Take care with damaged trees: Tender branches (particularly conifers) may become broken or weighed down with heavy snow. Broken branches should be pruned away immediately to prevent injury and disease. Ragged tears are very susceptible to infection, so remove damaged wood using clean cuts.
  • Remove snow from roofs (if you can safely): Remove the piles of snow that may cascade down onto your shrubs from the roof above. If your shrubs are right in the danger zone under a steep roof, you may want to protect them with a temporary wooden frame.
  • Keep off grass: Snow covered grass is fragile, easily uprooted, and susceptible to fungal diseases under the snow. Avoid walking on snow-covered grass as it will damage the turf beneath and leave unsightly marks on the lawn. 

Try to save damaged plants:

The extent of the damage often won’t be clear until spring, when you find out if your plant is able to spring back into shape. Wait for spring to do any staking or reshaping of bent plants, since winter branches are extremely brittle. In the spring they’ll be much more supple.

  • Cut back frosted growth in spring to a healthy, new bud, to prevent further die back and encourage plants to produce fresh, new shoots.
  • Feed damaged plants with a balanced fertiliser (one with equal amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) to encourage strong, healthy growth.
  • Dig up small, tender plants and take them into the greenhouse. Many will quickly produce new growth and recover, provided they are not subjected to prolonged periods of heavy frost, wet or cold.
  • Newly planted specimens will often lift themselves proud of the soil surface if there is a hard frost straight after planting. Check them regularly and re-firm the ground around them to ensure their roots are always in contact with the soil.

Finally – just enjoy the sheer beauty of your snowy gardenscape – take some photos and make a note in your September diary to have your own Christmas cards printed!