This week’s blog looks at managing the aftermath of last week’s arctic blast. The vast majority of our garden plants will have coped admirably, but some will have suffered damaged foliage, others will have turned to mush and some are total goners.
You may find that a number of evergreen, or semi evergreen plants have suffered damage to their leaves and stems. Particularly susceptible plants include Choisya, Ceanothus, Pittosporum, Bay and Photinia (Red Robin). The leaves can look scorched, turn brown and appear flaccid. Stems with damaged leaves will need pruning out, but it is better to wait until May, when the wood will respond better to pruning, and the risk of further frosts has passed.
My Solanum (potato vine) has been particularly badly damaged by frost, and it might not recover. However, it's worth not giving up on a damaged plant if it's well established. The plant may rejuvenate from dormant buds above or below the soil, so it’s worth waiting until June/July to see what it does.
You may find that some of your herbaceous perennials have dissolved into a puddle of mush! The cold weather has literally caused the plant cells to freeze, then explode, leaving you with a lovely pile of slime. It may look hopeless but plants with good root systems, such as arum lily’s and agapanthus, will re-shoot in spring. All you need to do is clear away the mush – lovely!
Unfortunately, for those who made the effort to get ahead of the game and sowed some annuals last autumn, your seedlings may be amoung the casualties. Luckily with gardening, you get a second chance at these things, and a new sowing season is just about to begin!