Well what strange weather we’re having
at the moment, one minute torrential rain,
then glorious sunshine and time to put on
your shorts again. But don’t be fooled
as when the cold weather does come it will
hit your tender plants hard, so like the Boy
Scouts’ motto, ‘be prepared’.
Lift up all your bedding geraniums, and tender
perennials, and get them into a frost free
greenhouse or garden shed. If you have some
tender plants that are either too big or heavy
to move, then get out your fleece or plant
cosies as it only takes one snap of frost
to do the damage.
If you are lucky enough to grow tree
ferns, plug up the crown in the top with either scrunched
up fleece or moss as this will protect the new crosiers
or fronds that will eventually push it out when the
weather warms up in the spring. But whatever you do
don’t use bubble wrap on your plants as this will
sweat and cause condensation that will eventually rot
your plants, so save it for your greenhouse.
Looking around at the trees and shrubs
there is the first glimpse of autumn colour. This is
usually activated by the so called drop in temperature
at this time of year. The chlorophyll in the leaves
starts to break down and then the less dominant pigments
like carotene start to come to the foreground. Carotene
is shown off by the colour orange as in carrots. It’s
all clever stuff this plant naming thing you know. If
that’s the case what was Trachycarpus Wagnerianus
Plants I have noticed looking rather
lovely at the minute are Nandina domestica ‘Fire
Power’ with its striking evergreen leaves turning
a beautiful hue of red. It’s a great all round
plant but needs to be kept away from the hottest part
of the day, as the leaves can show signs of scorching,
but is easy to grow and is predominantly pest free.
Also the witch hazels are again coming into their own
with a massive array of beautiful autumn colours. At
the Garden Centre we have an old parrotia persica which
has just started to turn colour and will be a real picture
in a week or two.
One plant which is a total must that
I always have to grow is Vaccinium corymbosum or the
Blue Berry which is showing no signs of any autumn colour
at the minute but soon will turn and have nearly all
the colours of the rainbow in its autumnal leaves. Blueberries
are very easy to grow in the ground or in containers.
They like an acidic soil and plenty of sunshine to ripen
those lovely and rather expensive berries. A punnet
of blueberries never goes very far so why not try and
grow your own as the plants will soon pay for themselves.
There are many different varieties on the market and
by choosing the right ones will not only help increase
pollination, thus more fruit, it will also increase
the harvesting period. It’s a great all round
plant and it has something for every season, beautiful
white umbel flowers in spring producing lovely vitamin
C laden berries and stunning autumn colour. What else
could you ask for?