Late Frost

It’s been a rather busy spring and there has been a lot of work done already that I haven’t written about as such but some highlights are:

  1. The sweet peas are planted out in the six trugs at the front of the house. They’re in two groups of three either side of the front door, like an eager crowd of fragrant friends
  2. The patio has been re-instated for the year, it was cleared for winter and has now been pressure-washed, sealed and the pots and plants set back, the staging is also back up and staging plants
  3. We have bought our annual bedding, which will go into the hanging baskets (which are ready to plant) and the patio pots
  4. The climbing roses have been tied in to various rose towers and arches
  5. Another two large terracotta pots join the existing collection as part of my (somewhat early) birthday present
  6. The lily bulbs ordered last year have finally arrived (the company lost the order) and are now planted for a really late show
  7. We dug up, split and potted up ferns that were growing in the garden in an area “due for demolition”, they’ve been set in a group against the beech hedge at the bottom the lower terrace
  8. The two sets of steps that descend down (or rise up) between the upper and lower terraces have been “made safe” with the rubbish and detritus cleared to improve sure-footedness

In terms of plants that are growing and flowering:

  1. The magnolia produced a mean display and the young leaves have been hit hard by frost
  2. The Judas tree has flowered beautifully, but its new leaves also got hit by frost
  3. The Japanese Wineberry was looking lovely, until it was hit by frost
  4. The dahlias are emerging from their winter dormancy and were doing well, until they were hit by frost

As you can see, we were hit with a late frost after a period of warm weather. The soft, lush, sensitive new spring growth was affected badly for the plants that are more borderline hardy. Plants that comfortably grow in this climate shrugged off the cold, obviously adapted to fickle UK weather. I’m hoping the damage from frost is largely cosmetic and their growth hasn’t been stunted too much. This is the first time I’ve experienced and noted an unseasonably warm early spring, that lulled the plants into a false sense of security, only to be hit hard with a cold spell.

I have been keeping an eye on the night-time temperatures and I am glad that I didn’t plant out the tender bedding when it was warm nor put out the fig and the ginger otherwise the list of casualties could have been rather longer.

As we move into May, I can see the temperatures rising and I expect it will only be a couple of weeks before the chance of frost has vanished (famous last words). I will then bring the rest of the plants out from the greenhouses and set them on the patio or in the hanging baskets. We do live in the South of the UK and I expect the weather to behave accordingly.

4 Comments


  1. ” We do live in the South of the UK and I expect the weather to behave accordingly.” Haha Sunil! We all live in hope, don’t we, us gardeners! I am about the business of filling a new border (about 12 ft x 4 ft) which was left when we had hardstanding laid for the car. I already had a 12 year old silver birch (now at about 20 ft) in there at one end, and a portugese bay or laurel depending on what you look for (Prunus lusitanica) at the other. The latter is going to have to be moved in the autumn even though it loves it there, as I now find it may go to 20 ft or more and I only expected 6 ft!! Also it is next to an Amelanchier lamarckii which is going to stay in the position I chose it for. So, after a lot of ivy removal, and several dead tree stumps awaiting the man with the pickaxe next week, I have a lot of bare earth. Accordingly I ordered 5 day lilies yesterday and have lots of stuff in pots for filling in.

    Have lost nothing to that late frost, like you a bit of damage, but I think all will be well. Must get some parsnip seeds today (I don’t grow to eat, just let them go to flowers as they are soooo beautiful – like yellow cow parsley only better!!)

    Hope everthing performs well for you this year. It looks like a good one in my garden…..

    Reply

    1. Hello Mrs Mac, that’s exciting to have a new area to plant, I’m looking forward to seeing pictures! Various more tender plants we have here were damaged by the frost, we didn’t loose any thankfully. I’ve been watching the night time temperatures and after tonight, the rest of the bedding and tender plants will be heading out onto the patio and the hanging baskets will be planted up, finally! I’ve been getting desperate as it feels so late.

      Reply

  2. Hi Sunil, late frost can be annoying. I am impressed with your work regime to date and you will soon be reaping the rewards. Here in Fife we don’t get so very much frost, being so close to the sea. However we get hellish cold winds which have caused the leaves of the Acers to curl up and die, fortunately everything else is coming away nicely.

    Reply

    1. Hello Alistair, we’re reaping the rewards already with the borders that have been planted out! We’re waiting for Fruit Avenue to start producing. We’re expecting lots of berry fruits but the fruit trees are still a few years off production. Our little acers weren’t damaged by the frost as they are high up on the staging close to the house.

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