Reflections on Spring 2012
This year Spring seems to have lasted forever. We had the warm spell a few weeks ago which got some of the tougher plants into leaf, since then it has warmed up and cooled down many times. Each warm spell brings another few species into leaf, then comes the wait through another cold snap.
The danger is that plants come into leaf in a warm spell then if it cools down they get chilled and loose the foliage before it has toughened up. A few of our Acers have suffered from the frost this year, but somehow our Magnolia flowers have got away unscathed. Even the leaves on laurel are not frost hardy until they are mature. It amazes me that a plant which can carry such big leaves through the toughest winter is susceptible to frost when sending out new shoots.
It is impossible to protect everything in the garden so all you can do is hope that you had the good sense to plant tender shrubs in sheltered spots. The early morning sun after a frosty night sun seems to do most damage by warming things up too quickly. So anything susceptible is better planted in a position that the sun does not reach it till mid morning. As a bonus this should keep the east wind off it too.
Why you may ask has Mother Nature allowed this to happen? Well it is the folly of man that has caused the problem by moving plants from warm places like the Mediterranean to our colder climate. Our native species are perfectly adapted to our climate, and others from afar will probably adapt given time.
All this answers the question of what to put in a difficult spot in the garden where nothing will grow. Plant a native species because they are perfectly adapted to our environment.