Guest blogger Stephanie Donaldson’s post on tender plants.
It’s time to go undercover…
The weather forecasters have been issuing dire warnings all week about the arrival of winter temperatures, so yesterday I decided I could delay no longer – it was time to bring the tender plants inside.
Even though the frost might not make it as far as my sheltered south-coast garden, the sudden drop in temperature is bound to be a shock for these plants. This isn’t a simple matter of picking up the odd pot of pelargoniums. There’s a Sambac Jasmine I brought back from Italy, two Brunfelsia (also known as Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow because the flowers open deep blue and fade to white over three days) that remind me of a childhood in South Africa, Aeoniums, Salvias, Lantanas and several Scented Pelargoniums – to name a few.
I’ve been nurturing some of these plants for over a decade and they have got QUITE BIG. So it was time to enlist some help and with much huffing and puffing they are all snugly tucked away in the conservatory and the greenhouse. The citrus trees get pride of place in the kitchen extension where, with a little bit of tlc they will fill the room with fragrant flowers in the early months of next year. I will now switch to winter feed, water and spray them with rainwater and generally make a fuss of them in the hope of plenty of fruit next year. I’m not sure whether they were sympathising with the rest of the fruit in the garden, or if it was the miserable summer and poor light levels, but they took a sabbatical in 2012 and failed to produce a single fruit between them. Who can blame them, it’s hardly been a Mediterranean climate.
Stephanie Donaldson has over 30 years of hands-on organic gardening experience and has written many gardening books including co-authoring The Elements of Organic Gardening with HRH The Prince of Wales. She is a freelance garden writer and former Gardens Editor of Country Living magazine and blogs about organic gardening on The Enduring Gardener. Above all, she is an enthusiastic and at times obsessive gardener.