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Devon Garden

We have recently moved from a garden in the West Midlands to one in coastal south Devon. I have brought with me cannas, a banana , aeoniums, aloe vera etc in pots that were previously in a greenhouse. They are now against a south facing wall and are lapping up the sunshine. I am guessing/hoping that they will be ok to stay outside most of the winter-perhaps moved to an even more sheltered spot.Any advice that Devonian gardeners could give me would be appreciated. 

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  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,652
    Devon is well known as being a beautifully "green" county - ie it gets rather a lot of rain in normal times.
    Given the extremes in weather we are all experiencing these days, it is possible even in coastal S Devon to experience low temps and even frosts so best to err on the cautious side over winter.
    Whilst the plants you mention will enjoy their new home and thrive outside in suitable locations over the summer, the Aloe vera will be happier indoors over winter and the Aeoniums may well need some winter protection as will the Bananas and possibly the Cannas.
    I'm in coastal West Somerset but I have also gardened in Devon - tho not the south coast.
    I'm sure there are posters in S Devon who can offer more conclusive advice tho.  
    In the meantime, enjoy your new home and garden :)
  • Thank you for helpful comments.
  • DevonianDevonian Posts: 176
    The banana will certainly be fine, you'll see a few of them around (inland as well as coastal) with small fruits in late summer. Inedible of course, but doing fine - although looking ragged over winter if exposed to gales! Cannas too will be fine with a mulch over winter.

    Depending on exactly where you are and how exposed you are to wind (IE especially if you're on the coast where the air will be salty) you'll likely be fine with all of those wintering outside. Just keep an eye on the forecast - cover with fleece or similar if any very cold spells. 

    Remember that the climate in Devon varies enormously - the southern and eastern areas receive less than half the rainfall that the western side receives, and high levels of sunshine relative to the UK average. Frosts are very rare on the coast with some microclimates having only a handful in living memory. Winters can be very windy and wet! Spring and summer can be very dry.

    Might be worth you reading this article by a seasoned exotics 'experimentalist' who has successfully grown all sorts in his garden in Torquay that wouldn't normally be considered even remotely hardy in the UK! Not sure if he's still offering visits but worth getting in touch to see if he has advice:  http://www.pomian.co.uk/garden/index.htm

    Always a good idea to see what's growing in your neighbourhood too.


  • Thanks for brilliant advice. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,448
    I'm in Devon, but high up so it's cold and very windy here, and those plants wouldn't cope. My Mum had an aloe vera that she kept outside on a sheltered patio in Cornwall and it lived probably 20 years until the 2010 winters killed it (she wasn't well enough to get it inside).
    Generally the climate is mild and very benign down where you are but be alert to short spells of either very cold or very wet weather and have a contingency plan for how to get them into somewhere more protected (your house, probably), or wrapped or covered in some way, for a few days now and again
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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