The Battle of Hardiness

Is it just me or have you noticed a significant drop in temperatures this week?

It was therefore highly frustrating when my boiler handed in its notice, reverting me back to a time without central heating and hot running water. It really is the small things in life that make you happy I can assure you!

I was able to scramble around the back of  the wardrobe and dust off my boots, yet I am reluctant to wear a coat to work for the time being. I am kidding myself into thinking an embrace from a hot day is on the horizon. 

There is also much debate in the office as to whether it is a window open or window closed sort of day, and some of us (me) feel the cold badly and therefore dress to the nines in winter clobber (This is just so I don't have to wear a coat when I leave the house by the way). 

Having said all of this, with autumn consuming us and winter on its way, we need to reflect on our gardens and the plants which will require more attention, or even complete removal into warmer and cosier environments. We may even decide that some of our less established plants just aren't suited to the location they find themselves in.  

This week's blog will provide a teeny tiny insight into some of the plants that will embrace the prospect of cooler climates and will also showcase others that'll require some form of protection. 

 A few of our favourite perennials will survive the winter, battling their way through frost, rain, heavy winds and general carnage. They are the warlords of the garden and will conquer most things that are thrown at them:

Plants that haven't quite made the cut to warlord status have had all the training for a winter war but will require respite when times get really tough.

These are the Hardy bunch:

The half-hardy gang like to think they have the strength to battle against the elements, yet when it comes down to it they shy away, preferring warmer and cosier climates:

If I were a plant, this would be me - scared of harsh confrontation and happy in a warm and cosy environment away from danger - 'The tender clan': 

Before I leave you all for the weekend ahead here are a few little tips for your brave (or not so brave) garden warriors:

Fully hardy: You can leave these plants to fend for themselves during winter. However a little maintenance may be undertaken to ensure successful re-growth in the following season, such as trimming out dead or damaged wood and foliage. A layer of mulch will also be welcomed to protect the root system.

Hardy: Most hardy plants will survive a cold winter, yet prolonged periods of extreme conditions such as consistent frosts and even snow may cause detriment to these plants. In these circumstances, you may wish to cover your plants in a winter wrapping such as fleece.

Half-Hardy: It may not always be practical to lift and store plants away over the winter, but if you can, please do! Remove half-hardy plants in autumn and store them in a greenhouse or conservatory until all signs of frost have disappeared. Alternatively wrap them in protective fleece or hessian. 

Tender:  Much the same as our half- hardy pals, tender plants will need winter protection as they do not tolerate cold conditions. If you can, remove tender varieties from the garden and store away for the winter. If you do not have a greenhouse or conservatory, any place cool and relatively light will do.


I know some of us feel that fully hardy perennials are more worthy of garden space, causing us less work and stress over the winter period, yet I feel as though limiting ourselves to these plants alone may cause us to miss out on some really impressive varieties. If you are well prepared, half-hardy and tender plants needn't cause you stress. Appropriate care will enable you to have the best of both worlds! 


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