Have you thought much about Scottish hardiness?
Let's face it plants don't read text books nor do they listen to the met office weather forecasts! They depend on us as gardeners to decide where the right place is for the right plant. Sometimes we get it wrong through no fault of our own. After all the plant label said it was hardy! In other words it might read 'hardy' but will it be hardy in YOUR garden? You need to think about Scottish hardiness when it comes to locating the plants in your garden!
Plants that can cope with very cold temperatures may not be able to tolerate very damp, wet heavy soils. Likewise they might not like high rainfall areas or cold wind exposure.
- Are you on a windswept hilltop or have a mountainside garden?
- Are you in a frost pocket in a river valley?
- Do you live near the West coast and benefit from the warm currents from the gulf stream?
- Have you lots of snow coverage during the winter?
- Are you in an inland region?
- How much of your garden gets the sun in the winter time?
- Have you light, sandy or heavy soil?
- Does your garden have a high water table?
Ways to Prevent Cold Affecting Your Garden Plants
As seasoned gardeners most of us probably know the answer to all of the above questions. Over the years we've won and lost battles with many of our plants and shrubs. We constantly learn from those trials and errors and then try to grow something more suitable in that border. Or we try to improve our soil/garden conditions so that we can try again and impress our fellow gardeners.
Weather conditions can affect plants at different stages in their development. Cold damage is most noticeable when plants are forming new leaves in the spring. Spring starts and then stops only then to start again. The poor plants haven't a clue what's happening. Moreover if we get a mild autumn the plants can start to grow again. Only to have that new growth hit by an October/November frost. That will weaken the plant or even kill it. If you live in mountainous places or in a river valley H5 plants are the most reliable plants to grow.
- Use fleece protection.
- Mulch plants.
- Plant on the south | westerly aspects of your garden rather than shady areas.
- We have more cloud cover, cooler temperatures during the summer months.
- We also have a lower light intensity than places further south in England.
- Plant nearer the walls of the house as the heat from the house keeps the roots warmer.
- Reduce wind exposure by building low walls or growing tall hedges.
- Open gates from enclosed gardens to help prevent the frost from lingering.
Container gardening is difficult with perennials over the winter. Frost penetrates all of the sides of the pot and the wind dries the plants out quicker.
Remember these Scottish hardiness ratings are only guidelines. You need to consider the micro climate and position of your own garden. A ravaging Scottish winter can still damage H5 plants.
- It's best to line your pot with bubble wrap on the inside before you even add the soil/compost.
- Place the pot on pot feet so that any water can drain away easily from the bottom of the pot.
- You can then fleece the outside of the pot or move to a warmer more sheltered position during the winter.
- Plants can dry out when frozen so once the temperatures start to increase. Make sure you water the compost in the container.
- Don't feed your container perennial plants with nitrogen rich feeds in late summer/early autumn. Give them some potash in late summer to help harden the wood and protect the plants through the winter months.