Tag Archive | winter

Chinese Lanterns – Just one reason why I don’t cut back everything in winter

I like to leave many plants standing through winter. For some plants, the seeds attract and feed the birds and small rodents, for some plants leaving last year’s growth on can help protect next year’s crown of new leaves.

In mid-winter, I really like the spears of stalks rising to the sky, often with frost or snow making gorgeous spires, the various shapes adding interest to the garden. I feel a garden that has been over-tidied is a sadder place in the winter for missing all of this.

A great example of this is the Chinese Lanterns, physalis alkekengi, well known for the orange papery lanterns during the autumn, but don’t cut them all off, leave them in place and you’ll see the lanterns turn into a wiry skeleton surrounding the fruit, that you can still handle.


I’ve only got one plant, so have just planted some of the seeds, let’s hope I can plant and have a few of these unusual plants around the garden next year.



The camellias have got dressed!

Winter, weather forecast says it will get below zero, so time to consider the plants that need some protection.  So far this winter I haven’t needed to, but it is time to get to work.

Over the years I have lost a lot of plants in winters, from tree ferns (very sad and expensive) to magnolia stellata and multiple other smaller plants – it seems like last Winter almost all the pennisetum in the UK were lost, perhaps we all got complacent after many years of increasing temperatures.  Now, obviously, the best thing is not to plant tender plants, but everyone loves to grow what they can’t – I’ve been in places where roses just don’t look happy and there’s a bed of sad-looking specimens, perhaps we gardeners are all mad!

You remember the camellias I bought?  Well, they should survive OK, but they carry their flower buds over the winter and these can drop in particularly cold weather – so I bought a single tube of horticultural fleece and have wrapped it very carefully (and not tightly, no point in knocking off the buds we want to keep, now is there?) – I have kept the fleece in place by using a couple of clothes pegs.

So, I am not growing ghosts or white lollipops, but hopefully this will ensure a good blossom – when I see warmer weather, I’ll be taking these off, but ready to put them back on whenever necessary.

Fingers crossed!

Dressed Camellia

Dressed Camellia