Alex, Current Issues, Gardening Year, Plants

how to deal with frost

2017 has seen unprecedented weather challenges for growers. An extremely dry winter was followed by an unseasonably warm early spring. This encouraged plants to start throwing out shoots very early. We were then hit by very hard, very late frosts. To make it worse, the frosts were quite unexpected, coming during clear nights in late April off the back of good weather. The mercury plummeted to -6℃ in some rural areas and across the country, crops and gardens alike were hit hard.

Winemakers have suffered badly in the UK and across the continent. Up to 75% of some crops have been ruined by the cold snaps, with vineyards filled with huge candles to ward off the chill. In France, temperatures have dropped below -7℃, harming the new growths brought on by previous warm weather. Champagne may be in shorter supply this year, despite attempts to save crops with the down-draught from helicopters.

frosty vineyards

The frost was even more damaging as there was a lot of young, tender new growth triggered by the early warm weather which was particularly vulnerable. With many plants, the freeze decimated the new growth, killing it right back, and leaving plants looking very sorry for themselves indeed.

This is particularly bad for those of us expecting fruit crops this year, like the winemakers, who reported up to 50% of their crops may be lost and the rest delayed significantly. Strawberries, young tomato plants and other less hardy varieties that may have been moved out of the greenhouse too early on the back of the good weather, have also been wiped out throughout the country.

Late frost 2017

So what can we do to save our plants from the late frost?

  • Be prepared for unpredictable weather in the UK. Keep a close eye on the forecasts, with mild early springs followed by sudden chills the real killer.
  • Check out our tips for protecting plants against frost, including cloches, fleeces and greenhouses.
  • When moving plants outside after winter, do so carefully in stages to harden them off.
  • Choose some hardy plants like lavender and holly to keep some colour going in the garden whatever the weather throws at it.

AlexAlex works in the Primrose buying team, sourcing exciting new varieties of plants.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Charlie, How To, Water Features

Winter can be a hard time for water features, in particular the ones that live outside. Follow this advice to protect your water feature against frost, so you’ll keep your fountain at its best for years to come.

How to Protect Water Features Against Frost

Never allow ice to form in your water feature. Ice forming can damage the pump and a deep freeze can even cause the structure of the water feature to crack in some cases. There are two ways you can achieve this, one is to simply pour the water out of your water feature when temperatures plummet and store it, perhaps with the help of a water feature cover. The other way is to use Fountain Frost Free from Primrose. Treating your water with this will prevent ice from forming and is not harmful to birds or wildlife, making it great for bird baths and ponds too. Fountain Frost Free works to as cold as -6 degrees, so in the UK climate you’re unlikely to have any problems – if you’re living somewhere with a really deep freeze however, it would be advisable to drain your water feature instead.

With birdbaths, it is particularly important to clear away any snow and not to allow ice to form, as this can prevent the bird getting access to the drinking water. You can simply break the ice when it forms, or use Fountain Frost Free – used in the correct quantities, this leaves the water perfectly safe for birds to drink from.

Follow this simple advice and you’ll be sure to have a pristine water feature and pump next spring.

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

To see the rest of Charlie’s posts, click here.

 

Current Issues, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, How To, Planting, Plants

How To Protect Your Plants Against Frost

Winter is coming… and bringing the obligatory cold snaps to test your garden over the chilly season. No one wants the flowers that they tended so well over the summer to be ruined, which is why we’ve put together a simple guide on how to protect your plants against frost. Give the following tips a go, and be sure to let us know how you get on!

1. Move delicate plants inside

Anything that you know won’t survive the cold, like tropical species or houseplants, make sure they’re indoors from around November time until the spring.

2. Keep an eye on the weather reports

You’ll want to know when a frosty night is imminent so you can prepare your garden that evening. Forewarned is forearmed!

3. Water the night before a freeze

Cold winds and dry air will deplete moisture in plants, so keep them hydrated by topping the ground up with water the night before a cold snap. Water can act as an insulator inside the plants and moist soil stays warmer than dry.

4. Cover young plants

Another task to do before a frosty night is to protect delicate shoots of bulbs growing outside. Cover them with cloches if you’re prepared – or upturned buckets and plant pots will do in an emergency!

5. Use a fleece blanket for delicate trees and shrubs

If you know your tree won’t take well to a chilly night, keep it wrapped up warm in a fleece blanket or roll of fabric. Use a frame to avoid damaging the branches, and be sure to cover all the way to the ground to hold in maximum heat.

6. Build a cold frame

Shelter potted plants together in a cold frame. You can buy one ready-made or construct one out of bricks and an old window for a lid. Be sure to ventilate it to avoid the buildup of too much heat or moisture.

7. Lay down some mulch

Insulate budding plants and shrubs with a layer of mulch. This will trap in the heat well and provide them with nutrients.

8. Relocate plants inside a greenhouse

If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse in your garden, it’s invaluable during frosty periods. You can simply move all your pots inside, or even plant within the greenhouse to be prepared for winter.

9. Watch out for morning light

After a frost, be careful not to expose you plants to strong sunlight straightaway. If they defrost too quickly, it can damage the cells inside.

Hopefully these quick tips will get your garden through the winter safely. Please share how you get on, and let us know if you have any more helpful advice.

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Awnings, Bird Baths, Cat, Flowers, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Newsletter, Water Features

Primrose Frost Protection

You’ve enjoyed your awningsgarden furniture and water features all summer, but now it’s time to protect them from the winter and the frost. We’ve got the solution for you!

Primrose Fountain Frost-Free Take our Fountain Frost-Free for example: Developed exclusively for Primrose, it is a safe, environmentally friendly way to protect your water feature, birdbath, pond and pump from freezing in temperatures to -6 degrees without compromising the safety of your children and pets. And when it’s really cold just use a water features cover!

For your plants, take a look at our range of over 30 frost protection items which includes fleece covers, warming cables and cloches.

Garden Furniture Covers at Primrose

Or our huge range of over 150 garden furniture covers which start from just £4.95, contain waterproof finishing and can be easily stored in their packaging when not in use.

Awning Storage Bags at Primrose

Our awning storage bags are made from waterproof, rot-proof polyester and is easy to sponge clean. Simply place the storage bag over the retracted awning and tie up at the back using the attached tie cords.

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

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