Frost damage in the Garden
A high pressure system over Greenland and Iceland combined with a second system over Russia have squeezed Arctic cold air south, creating a cold snap here in the U.K. during December this year.
We push the boundaries of half-hardiness at Ventnor Botanic Garden, and some of the Living Collection suffered with the prolonged cold air and frost. You will see black basal leaves and frost damage on the more tender plants in the Garden. What you won’t see is us rushing to “tidy” them up because leaving the cold damaged plants in place until spring, protects their neighbours, reduces ground frost and reduces the impact of a continued or renewed cold snap. Wasn’t there also something about leaving the black tips on to prevent further damage down the stem in the next hard frost?
As a sustainable Garden, here at Ventnor Botanic Garden, we prepare for cold snaps! There is a practice called “life boating” for tender plants. Life boating means collecting seeds or taking cuttings for overwintering in the glasshouses, so that the plant can be reintroduced in the spring and therefore not lost compleatly. Inevitably we still lose some plants of course, If we don’t we are not innovating and demonstrating what can grow outdoors in the Ventnor Botanic Garden microclimate. Many plants in the Living Collection like Echium pininana, a biennial, have been at Ventnor Botanic Garden for many generations and the genetically hardier individuals have survived giving the Garden’s Collection more resilience in the face of weather patterns like we have just experienced.