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Its carnage out there!

Posted by sheiladearing on 13 Apr 2010 at 10:59 AM

A couple of weeks back I heard Chris, the Rosemoor Curator questioned on how our garden and its plants had faired over the winter.
I butted in; only half joking…
‘Its carnage out there!’ I said.

An off the cuff comment maybe, but close enough to the mark to curtail any laughter. Later, I was out in the garden digging out dead plants and lamenting our bad luck to a lady who stood close by…
‘We’ve had snow and ice for weeks’ I said, ‘and temperatures down to minus fifteen!’
If I was seeking words of consolation I was out of luck…
‘I shouldn’t complain if I were you’, she muttered, up north we get winters like this practically every year!’ True enough I thought, but we don’t, and that’s why the impact on our garden has been so severe.

Large mature trees, Acacia, Crinodendron, Hoheria, Pittosporum and Sophora have been lost or so badly damaged as to be unsavable, while at lower levels many of our old favourites, Cistus, Corokia, Hebe, Myrtle, Phlomis and Phormium have perished. At present even our precious tree ferns, cordylines and banana plants, which bring an unusual, tropical look to the garden, are showing little signs of life though we are giving them time to show.

Preparing to dig out a dead Corokia


Half way there!

One down - two more plants to go in this group of Corokia

Down at the herbaceous level, with many plants just beginning to emerge from the soil, its hard to say how many will survive; a wet late autumn and early winter compounded problems for the underground root systems, effectively freezing them in ice when the bitter cold arrived. All in all then, not good; but will the happenings of this winter effect the choice of plants we use in the future? Broadly speaking, no; I believe this winter was a true exception so I think it would be wrong to play too safe and deprive our visitors (and us Rosemoorites!) of a wide range of terrific plants!

Dave Squire.


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