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Wrapping up for Winter

Posted by Rosemoor Garden on 30 Nov 2009 at 11:37 AM

Looking like giant clumps of rhubarb that wouldn’t be out of place on the set of ‘Jurassic Park’, the Gunnera manicata growing along the stream and around the lake at Rosemoor provide a great spectacle from spring until autumn and provoke a lot of questions from visitors.  The huge leaves of Gunnera manicata can grow to two metres, or more, across and the prickly leaf stalks sometimes grow to two and a half metres long.

 

Native to an area of South America stretching from Colombia to Brazil, Gunnera manicata is not reliably hardy in this country and the buds in the crown are prone to frost damage.  As the garden at Rosemoor is situated in a frost pocket it’s important that we take steps at this time of the year to protect the crowns of the plants from frost damage.

Recently, Susie Hauxwell, John Bridge and I worked our way from the upper reaches of the Rosemoor stream, above the waterfall, down to the lake preparing the Gunnera for the winter.  Using pruning saws we removed the leaves from each Gunnera plant.  We then cut the stalk off each leaf before placing the inverted leaves over the crown of the plant (like a giant umbrella).  Finally, we used the stalks to weigh down the leaves.  The leaves and stalks will gradually break down, but should provide sufficient protection to the crowns of the plants throughout the winter.  In colder areas, it may be sensible to provide extra protection by placing some dry straw, or fern or bracken fronds over the crowns before covering them with the leaves.

You can see from Susie’s photos what the Gunnera looked like once we had finished.

 


James Shepherd (Gardener, Decorative and Nursery)

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