This article is about gardening in the southern parts of England and is interesting because of its description of the unusual weather conditions and the effect they have had on the plants and trees. The author is Peter Mills and the article comes from the Silversurfers website. In addition to his comments on the strange effects of the weather Peter also gives advice on what needs to be done in January.
My thoughts and observations ? gardening in the southern parts of England has been strange, bizarre, very extraordinary and any other superlatives you can think of!
Flora and Fauna are totally confused by the record breaking temperatures both night and day, not to forget the rainfall.?The results mean so many plants and trees are in flower at the wrong time of year.?Greenfly on roses, mealy bugs on apple trees, black spot and mildew on roses.?It could be a bad year for fruit production with buds being frosted. I?ve seen flowers open on Damson and Blueberries. I hear fruit trees are in flower in parts of France, this will be an agricultural/horticultural disaster.
The soil or ground temperature being so warm has meant weeds everywhere, grass still growing, bulbs galore flowering, sap rising already on silver birches, birds singing and nest hunting, water boatman in ponds, caterpillars, slugs and snails very active, loads of tender growth on clematis, roses and herbaceous plants??.and it?s the first week of 2016!
On the plus side the colour, sounds, sights and smells have been very much appreciated. ?The fuel bills are much lower at the moment BUT the Squirrels aren?t fat for no reason, they know that the weather is going to turn cold even very cold! They have stuffed themselves silly on the glut of food available from the ?mast? year of autumn 2015. They pile on the fat to semi hibernate when it turns cold.
I?m stocking up on logs, food for the birds?. snow tyres?
So what can be done to combat the change in the weather to come?
I?m afraid not a huge amount. It?s impossible to fleece the entire garden, covering flowering bulbs, shrubs and trees.
You can fleece Camellias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Peaches, Plums, Damsons if not too big and in bud or flower to protect from frost, otherwise just accept what nature throws at us.
Mulching is protective for bulbs and herbaceous plants, only do if you can work off scaffold boards.
Pack plant pots together, less chance of the roots and pots freezing.
I?ve got spring bulbs still to plant! So I?m going to plant them in pots with my favourite compost mix of John Innes No 2 and multipurpose compost, then as the flowers come I can place the pots where I want them, either plunging them in the ground or knocking out of the pots and planting in the final position.
For those of you living up north you will wonder what all the fuss is about! I apologise! You can carry on when the weather allows??