This wonderful hot weather is a great time for exploring new and unusual plants to introduce to your garden. My advice is to be adventurous - don’t go just for the traditional herbacouse plants.
THINK BIG AND BOLD WITH CLIMATE CHANGE PLANTS
Many of these plants originate from much warmer countries overseas but are now readily available in nuseries that specialise in Mediterranean, Sub-Tropical and Exotic plants located all over the UK. These nurseries have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience and will help you decide which type of plant is sutable for your style and the conditions in your garden. Here are a few key questions that should help you with your selection of plants:
THE AGE AND SIZE OF THE PLANT
Smallerandless established plants may not cope with severeconditions whilst older more established plants will make a faster impact although can take longer to settle when planted. It is probably best to choose a plant around 2-3 years old (as a guide) which will provide some instant impact and allow it to establish and gow into your garden.
RECOMMENDED LOWEST TEMPERATURE
Ask the nusery what are the suggested lowest temperatures that the plant will withstand. It may survive our winters if you position it in a sheltered spot or if you cover with a fleece or, surround it with a sturdy but very fine netting to form a wind break. If the winter is very cold , then protect plants by bringing them in indoors into a conservatory from late October to May.
English winters vary so much from year to year that it is important to keep an eye on the ground frost temperature. Last winter damaged many plants in certain areas as there were temperatures of minus 9c but generally our winters are less cold but damper . As a rule if temperatures drop below -4c then you should take care to protect most tropical plants or move them to a warmer place until the risk of very cold frost has gone.
LIFTING YOUR PLANTS
Remember to think about the fact the you may have to lift and move containerised plants. Think about weight and space available for over wintering. It is also a good idea to visit any local gardens that have open days to see what is growing and ask the staff if they have experienced any problems with certain plants.
ENSURE GOOD WINTER DRAINAGE
Most plants suitable for Global Gardening not only require consistent temperatures but also hate damp conditions that will rot their roots. Plants that are in containers for ease of moving may be more tender as the soil in a container can freeze solid during prolonged frosty periods. Make sure there is a good layer of drainage material in the bottom of containers and a water rententive compost mixture to avoid the need to water in the summer.
THE SOURCE OF YOUR PLANTS
Although many Mediterranean, Tropical and Exotic plants orginate from sunnier countries, there are many growers who now propogate and grow their own plants from seedlings. To limit your carbon foot-print its a good idea to enquire about where the plants have come from and decide whether you want to buy plants that have been transported great distances across the world.