Six on Saturday

Surveying the damage!

The snow of a week ago disappeared in just 24 hours leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. Anything remotely tender left in greenhouses, porches or sheds has been lost to the minus 10C we experienced here in the chilly Cotswolds.

Shrubs and perennials. normally robust and capable of withstanding ‘normal’ winter temperatures, were struck down under a thick blanket of snow which then froze for 7 days straight. This Penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’ which I have had for 10 years is probably no more, the emerging shoots having been killed off.

Even the top growth of Pittosporum was frosted to death which is so unusual here, even in a relatively hard winter.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Amongst the death and dying, there is new life emerging from the cold soggy ground which provides hope of better times to come. The days are now getting longer, Christmas is nearly upon us and I have given myself a present to help to work off the turkey and keep me occupied next week when the family goes home.

Yes! A ton of fresh willow woodchip! My friend Tom, the local tree surgeon and all round good guy, turned up as promised with a load of free mulch for under the established trees and shrubs. Willow, according to Tom, is perfectly safe used fresh like this due to its lack of anything resinous or toxic, which is a problem with anything coniferous. Willow has a high water content and does not leach anything nasty into the soil as it breaks down.

And it looks like my Tradescantias have come through okay, their snow duvet having melted to reveal bedraggled but living foliage.

They may take a little tidying up and a good feed in the spring to coax them back into action, but they all seem to have proved they can withstand pretty bleak weather.

A very Merry Christmas to you all.

David

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