Thursday, 30 December 2010

It's Snow Joke!

Ok, it's a bad pun to start with but it catches the eye!
It does draw the attention to that recent phenomenon, the prolonged period of heavy snow fall, and standing snow at that. Then there are the problems that beset the gardener when the snow lies heavy all around. Deep and crisp and even may suit some Good Kings but they weren't looking after a shrubbery.
I had planned to give a run down on how to save a shrub that had been damaged by heavy snow, when I noticed my large Hebe showing a gap where the snow had weighed down on it, forcing it to split in to down the centre. It looked as though a huge axe had cleft it in two with one mighty blow. I had plans to prune the remains hard to encourage new strong growth, maybe taking heeled cuttings from the damaged material for an insurance policy. I had planned to until the rain and warmer temperature wiped away the white menace, revealing a strong shrub that simply bounced back into shape. It proves how resilient our favourite performers really are. It also shows why they are such favourites amongst gardeners who don't like fussy diva plants.
It was advisable to brush any snow off higher branches that were bending under the weight, just to avoid any damage. Staying off lawns and beds  is also wise as crushed snow and ice will dig into the unprotected soil. Frozen soil cannot respond to being crushed the same way that warm, fresh and living soil can. Crushed frozen plant cells deteriorate quickly as soon as the thaw arrived.
Thankfully, most hardy garden plants are very good at recovering and replacing lost material with new growth in the spring. The grass will fill the gaps in the lawn, new leaves and new shoots will appear on shrubs and trees.
Recovery is one of natures greatest tricks. This recent weather will be the test of it's strength and just how good a trick it is.

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