I am writing this at the beginning of February. The snow has just melted rather quickly causing more floods. But the ground seems to be draining quite well.
What surprises me is that the garden does not look weather beaten and the plants on the nursery seem to be fine. Which is quite remarkable really as we have had quite a soggy winter, following the wettest summer on record. There are still floods in the fields where no one can remember seeing them before.
I have always favoured planting the main structure of the garden with good old fashioned native and proven hardy plants with a few more exotic varieties for a bit of interest. But the plants like Pieris and Photinia Red Robin which are the first to suffer look fine in the garden. Although the Photinias in net tunnel houses have lost their youngest leaves. I think this was caused by them having an extra growth spurt of tender leaves in the late autumn just because they were a little more protected.
I have never been a big fan of growing palm trees in this country. I know they can add a lot of interest to a garden. You might get away with it for a while, but just when they are starting to look good mother nature will call time and wipe them out with a sharp frost.
The number of times I have been shown a new plant that is the next big thing in the garden. I always ask ‘Is it hardy?’ and the reply is ‘We have been growing it for 3 years now and it seems fine.’ Then come the next hard frost they all are wiped out.
The moral of this ramble is: Plant the main structure of the garden with good reliable plants. By all means have a bit of fun trying out a few interesting things. If they thrive great, but if they aren’t a success you have not lost too much and you can always try something else.