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Talkback: Winter snow and tender plants

Even though we have no snow here yet in south London the frost has got my nictonias,rudbeckias & alot of other stuff which i grew this year from seed. is my dahlia alright to be left in the ground or should i lift it? what about gladolis?


  • The first night of the big freeze in Bristol I was woken up by the cold. When it dawned on me why I was awake at 4.30 I sprang out of bed and dashed to the conservatory to put on the heater which is a thermostatically controlled greenhouse heater and usually is not needed till after Xmas. Only then did I put on my fleecy dressing gown and snuggle up in it back in bed. My conservatory is packed with tender plants so I was able to go back to sleep happy I had saved them.
  • the ground has frozen solid! i have been trying to do some weeding round the onions but it is no good, and as for using the hoe its just not working t(the ground is like concrete). i think i will have to leave it till the weather warms up.
  • Yep i agree with the last comment made here !!
  • clematis,
    I left my dahlias in the ground last winter, it got down to -8c and they came up again the following summer.
    I cut them right back, cover them with a polythene bin liner and mulch with old compost. I understand that it's the wet that can kill them (rotting tubers). I can't guarantee it will work every winter though, especially this one!
  • I have some cyclamen in a pot that are looking poorly in the frost/snow/sleet is there any hope for them? Also same question for pansies?!
  • Cyclamen hederifolium sp.should be fine although some of the varieties are not so tough. Winter pansies came through last winter's snow in my garden in Bristol and gave an amazing show of flowers right till last week! They may look a bit limp but will soon perk up when the weather eases up. Cyclamen do not like to be wet so make sure the pot has good drainage.
  • I bought a rose which was due for planting just as the bad weather arrived and the ground froze. With no let up in sight, I decided today that something would have to be done with the rose. I am housebound, so could only use what was in the house - no containers or bags of compost. Half a bag of bulb fibre - no good, no nutrients. A bag of houseplant compost, full of good stuff, and another of compost meant for geraniums. A container? The mop bucket. No drainage, but room to spread the roots. So there my rose sits, in the mop bucket, its roots covered with geranium compost.

    Will it survive? What do you think, Adam?
  • I can't get into my greenhouse, the door is frozen shut.ventilation will have to wait1
  • Reply to moondaisy: I assume this is a dormant, bare-rooted rose bush, in which case you have done the right thing covering the roots with damp compost. The rose will not be growing now (obviously) but you don't want to let the roots get dry and dehydrated.

    Keep your bucket and rose in a cool position – it won't need light. Then aim to plant out as soon as conditions improve in a week or two.
  • Well living in Surrey no fun at the moment,where I live on a very steep hill and no gritting done by the Council I won't be going anywhere, luckily I stocked up on bird food so the dear little mites won't go hungerey and funny enough they peck the snow so I suppose they get a drink that way and I have seen them fluffing their feathers up in the snow as well. All the winter planters that I bothered to plant up are now large white mounds, roll on spring.
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