The last week has been a steep learning curve in just what sub-zero temperatures will do to plants. Lobelia that seemed hardy enough to be lush and green well into November have been well and truly stopped in their tracks. And anything that was planted late and was still establishing itself can forget about getting any further.
The biggest disappointment has been how the frost has hurt the Cyclamen. As the sorry specimens on the right show the delicate flowers have borne the brunt of the frost.
It’s not all bad news as some Cyclamen have soldiered on and there’s still a bit of colour around the place. The Winter Pansies were probably saved for now when they were brought inside for a couple of days during the first really deep frosts. Hopefully that gave them just enough time to keep flowering and we’ll see a burst of colour in the next few days. It’s probably too much to hope for them lasting for any length of time though given that they were planted a little late in the season.
The lesson seems to be then to get the Autumn and Winter plants in the boxes earlier and give them a chance to really establish themselves before the first frosts. Those winter plants that have been in since late August are the ones that are surviving the best. So next year the choice is either to let the Summer display keep going and have a relatively colourless Winter, or to dig things up even when they still look good, and give the Autumn and Winter plants a chance to thrive. Can’t see that being an easy choice to make!