This year has already been full of extremes for the garden: a long, wet, cold winter, with 3 substantial snowfalls, followed by a very hot and dry summer… Most of us have lost a few plants, but how has your garden coped so far?
Some plants are more resilient than others. Though our lawns became yellow and crisp, herbaceous, roses and evergreen Grasses appear to have thrived; so too Mediterranean plants such as Hebes, Cistus, Olive, Geranium and Rosemary. Some plants, used to coping in dry shade and competing for water and nutrients, have also endured the drought better- tough, evergreen plants such as Viburnum, Nandina, Pittosporum, Sarcococca and Skimmia.
This summer has also seen an abundance of pests and diseases. Box is remarkably resilient to cold and wet, or hot and dry climate conditions. However it has been vulnerable to blight for years, and in the last year in London, has become particularly prone to the Box Tree moth, whose caterpillars can defoliate a Box hedge in a few days. There are few remedies available at the moment, and all are time-consuming, and we consider the best course is to dig up and replace any Box affected with alternative plants.
Remember when purchasing new plants, it is so important to choose reputable, responsible suppliers, who do not import plants that are at risk of bringing in unwanted pests and diseases from the Continent.
So, as the Summer comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect on how your garden is coping with the extremes of climate and the pests and diseases that threaten us all. Is it time to replace some of the more vulnerable, time-consuming plants with more reliable, low maintenance alternatives?
Anne Fraser and Caroline Streets
07729 835988 and 07930 876348