Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cold, innit?

Pardon me for sounding middle-aged but a whole generation of gardeners have grown up in Britain who have never experienced a ‘proper’ winter since they started gardening. Anyone younger than me basically. I had started a nursery business in 1986 and that was a jolly cold winter – it wiped out 75% of the exotic plantlife on Tresco in the Scillies, good news for me as it turned out, as I was selling them replacement South African and Australian exotica for years after.

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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1 comment:

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Yes, those fair weather gardeners and designers are certainly in for a shock. ;-) I've enjoyed the old fashioned winter weather over here in the Netherlands (ice skating and such) and fortunately most, if not all, of my plants will survive a real winter like this.