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Garden Centre


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How to Protect Border Plants in Winter
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Many different types of plants can be grown in a border but the most typical border plants are herbaceous perennials. These are mostly hardy plants whose top growth dies back in winter with new growth emerging the following spring. Winter protection consists of insulating the base of the plant so it can produce new growth the following spring. In the past, the dead top growth of perennials was cut back in autumn, then plants were insulated. Nowadays, the trend is to leave the dead top growth, particularly if the seedheads are interesting or loved by birds, and to cut back in the spring. If the old top growth is left, it helps to insulate the plants. However, the border can look untidy if you leave it so you might prefer the traditional approach. How hardy the plants are, the weather in your area and the site of your border will all influence how much, if any, protection is necessary: the critical danger comes during prolonged periods of extreme cold, especially if the ground is saturated before becoming frozen. Hardy plants in most areas will not need winter protection unless the border is exposed to cold winds. Winter protection benefits plants of borderline hardiness, including: African Lily (Agapanthus), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia), Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria), Globe Artichokes (Cynara Cardunculus) and Montbretia (Crocosmia).
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you will need
Elastic bands or similar ties; gloves; insulating material e.g. bark chips, straw or bracken; netting; pegs.
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step1
It is not enough to protect really tender plants - these need to be taken in undercover. They should be lifted out of the border in the autumn, placed in a pot and taken into a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory. Some plants may require heat, not just being frost-free
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To protect border plants with dense tufts of foliage (like ornamental grasses or red hot pokers), gather up the leaves in one hand and tie them together with an elastic band or similar tie. Their own leaves will stop cold and wet weather from getting into the crown of the plant.
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step3
Plants such as globe artichokes that have large leaves and thick stems can be cut down, their own leaves used as insulation, and their stems laid across to hold the leaves in place.
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step4
Other plants can be given a 15 cm thick covering of bark chips, straw or bracken. Secure this in place by putting a layer of netting over the top and pegging it down. Check weekly to ensure that the covering does not become waterlogged, and change it if it becomes very wet. Remove any insulation from around the crown of the plant in early spring.
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Gather foliage and tie to protect plant crowns for winter.
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Use the leaves of large foliaged plants to protect them.
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Secure a 15 cm layer of dry material around plant crowns.

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