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Frosty Mornings Ahead!

It’s at this time of year, as the days get shorter and the chill in the air gets fiercer, that you need to think about winter proofing your garden. Having an understanding of the lay of your garden is useful as is knowing which plants that you’ve lovingly tended can and can’t take frost. A little knowledge is essential for getting your garden through these cold months ahead.

Some plants can withstand minus temperatures while others will wilt at the first sign of the sparkly white stuff, knowing which ones is crucial.
Tender: Tender plants are generally perennials. They will live for many years so long as they’re not subjected to frost. They need to be moved during the winter to make sure they survive.
Half hardy: Half hardy plants are usually annuals and are a bit stronger but they can’t take freezing temperatures either.
Frost hardy: As the name would suggest these are frost hardy and can withstand temperatures of up to -5C.
Fully hardy: These plants are strong, definitely nature’s survivors, and can survive in temperatures as low as -15C.
Protecting your Plants
There are a number of ways in which you can protect your garden plants during the cold spell. Herbaceous perennials can be packed with grit around their stems to help prevent roots becoming water logged and rotting. Cover the rest of the beds with bark compost and mulch to help drainage too.
A good alternative to a cloche or cold frame is to cover your plants with a sheet of glass or plastic propped up on wood or stones. Keep the sides open for air circulation though.
Move tender varieties indoors and protect other vulnerable plants with garden fleece, straw and even bubble wrap.
Cold Weather Survivors
Not all plants suffer in the cold. In the vegetable plot leeks, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are coming into season and provide some much needed green to our meals during the winter months. Some of these vegetables, particularly cabbage and Brussels sprouts actually improve after a couple of frosts.
In the flower beds varieties such as red hot pokers, hardy fuscias, chrysanthemums and passiflora are frost resistant too.
We can’t change the weather but with some forward planning we can stop it causing too much trouble in the garden.