In typical British style the main topic of conversation this week has been about the snow. We love talking about the weather and living in Great Britain we get plenty of opportunity to, from floods to droughts and snow to burning sun.
The majority of people are always quite positive when the snow falls, as it takes them back to their childhoods and in some cases affords them a day off work; however, those living rurally dread the white stuff as they don’t have the luxury of gritters and city warmth.
What about gardeners? Do we love the snow or would we rather be without it? Gardeners are known to be the most positive people on the planet and this is due to our ability to embrace every season moving with the times instead of chasing the future or reminiscing about the past. We find benefits to every kind of weather and snow is no different.
The snow maybe cold but it does act as insulation for many plants once the first few millimetres have settled. It can also considerably raise the temperature temporarily in the greenhouse and conservatory allowing you to save on heating. Last year our winter was very mild and many bugs and diseases survived whereas now with this cold covering these organisms will be killed off so we can start spring anew.
There are some points to be aware of in the garden when it snows and with a little foresight you can ensure the snow doesn’t do damage to any of your plants. Although it insulates, deep snow can cover some plants completely and these evergreens still need the sunshine for photosynthesis no matter how limited it is.
The lawn will also need sun to stay green. Instead of shovelling the whole carpet of fluffy stuff off the grass, try simply sprinkling it with luke warm water.
Many people also forget that snow is simply frozen water and when it melts it creates puddles and waterlogged pockets around areas of the garden that don’t have adequate drainage. This can be useful for preparation for
the year ahead as we’ll no doubt endure some lengthy April showers therefor the snow can help us to highlight the areas that may suffer the most.
It’s not always easy to recognise a plant that is drowning from below the ground, yet after a very wet 2012 gardeners are now taking steps to ensure every eventuality is planned for in 2013.
You can easily tell if a plant is drowning by its appearance. If you know it has received more than enough water but is still wilting as though it’s parched, the chances are the roots are finding it difficult to breathe.
To save the plant carefully remove it from the soil. The roots will smell like the worst silage and will probably be black and slimy.
Try to remove as much of the current soil as you can and then move to a free draining container with nutrient filled compost. Keep in a shaded area and mist when the soil becomes dry. The plant may continue to die off but have patience
and if you have acted in time you will be rewarded with new growth.