So many gardeners under the age of fifty simply have not gardened at a time when there would be a frost night after night, and a mild spell would be a thankful break rather than the norm. This winter, when there seems to have been a frost every morning for more than a month now, seems exceptional – in fact it is quite normal, pre-global warming. The weather will now come as a nasty shock to the growers of ‘hardy’ bananas, agaves and acacias. But most of them at least know the risks of the game and will take appropriate measures to protect their treasures. More worrying is the whole generation of garden professionals who have no memory of a hard winter, the designers who plant their clients’ gardens with tender species, the wholesalers who sell truckloads of untrialled new Lavendula stoechas varieties or the garden centre managers who sell Cyclamen persicum as bedding plants.
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