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Why was this winter so harsh?

Did anyone else find this winter has had a bad impact on the garden? I've lost so many plants that have survived for many years with no protection and I can't work out why. I've been growing Stachys Lamb's ears for over 10 years and it's all gone, even the stuff growing under cover. My large erigeron karvinskianus is totally dead, yet the ones I keep in the greenhouse have flowered all winter. The majority of perennial herbs (Sage, nepeta, thyme and a few others) have been killed or badly effected apart from Rosemary and one Thyme which seem unaffected. I even lost quite a few borderline hardy plants that spent the winter in the greenhouse. Oddly though some half-hardy sedums thrived just under an open-ended tunnel cloche. I guess we had very low temperatures without the snow to insulate things and then some milder but wet periods that helped with mould and fungus.
On the plus side I've only found two pots that have vine weevils damage so far so either the cold has been bad for them too or my night patrols are finally paying off.
Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people


  • B3B3 Posts: 26,485
    Nothing special down here - so far.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,819
    Same here in London, I thought it was less harsh than some we have had.  There does seem to be a pattern though of very dry Springs.  In the last couple of years we have had 2 - 3 months with almost no rain in Spring, it's becoming the norm, and I have lost plants due to that. 

    Haven't seen any substantial rain now for about 4-6 weeks.  Our water butts have been empty for ages.  It's worrying when you have to start watering the garden in March.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,914
    It's still getting down to nearly freezing in the greenhouses every night at the moment. Spring in the day and winter at night is not good for emerging buds and I'm having to do the hokey cokey with tender plants in and out of the house every morning and evening.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • floraliesfloralies Posts: 2,512
    It's been a long harsh winter even down here and no sign of it ending at the moment. The wind has been soo cold for months. I have only lost a couple of Salvias, one of my Amistads and an African Sky which luckily I took cuttings from last year and they are fine.
  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 1,004
    The bottom half of my garden was frozen solid for several weeks. I've possibly lost one rhodie, and lost the new growth on at least one hydrangea. The rhodie has survived many winters, but i think the lack of snow at that time meant no insulation this time.
    Sunny Dundee
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,088
    Nothing lost that I can see so far ... although I have my doubts whether the canna will have survived, but that won't be surprising.  It was just too huge to move indoors.  

    Could the problem be that many of us had a lovely mild spell which brought some new growth forward ... then winter returned 😢 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FireFire Posts: 17,348
    I've not lost anything in London, but winter hasn't been hard here. Spring very dry and plants here are more likely to suffer from that as gardeners not watering plants are still in the "spring is wet" mentality. A couple of my hedge salvias have taken a beating with the cold Feb snap and snow but I think will recover. Next door's little fuchsias might have bitten the dust. We've had some beautiful roof frost here in the past few weeks but very little snow.
  • didywdidyw Posts: 3,199
    Winter didn't seem particularly harsh here (remembering with a shudder the Beast From the East a few years ago) but its cold fingers do seem to be reaching into Spring still. I guess it all comes down to microclimates.  We're in a valley so fairly sheltered.  I'd hang on a bit @wild edges - things that may seem dead now may surprise you in a couple of weeks.
    Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,324
    I think that’s definitely been the case @Dovefromabove, we had a prolonged freeze followed by a glorious March then back to freeze again, with bitterly cold northerly winds. I have lost several dahlias in the ground, never usually a problem leaving them in-situ. A fair amount of wind and frost burn on tender new foliage too. I believe an increasingly unstable polar vortex is a major factor plus climate change in general producing more extreme weather events.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462
    Oddly, for me it felt more like a welcome return to normal after the weirdness of last year. It was nice to have snow again, though not as much as we have often had in the past and it has not been much colder than we were used to, though it felt like it because we had milder weather beforehand. I didn't even have a heater in the greenhouse this year and losses so far seem minimal. Some I fear were my fault, as I let them get a bit too dry, trying to prevent them getting frozen :(
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