Alive, alive Oh!

We don’t need to tell you that last winter was tough on our garden plants.  We’ve had colder winters.  We’ve had wetter winters.  But a combination of factors meant that plants we’ve always thought of as hardy did not pull through.

Some we always knew were borderline.  Penstemons - we were always told to take cuttings in late summer ‘just in case’ but many of us became complacent and are now Penstemonless.  Salvias too, gone.  And that garden stalwart Erigeron, cheerfully seeding around, softening the hard edges of our driveway and enthusiastically quilting our paths and patios - GONE!

And yet there is hope.  Our 6ft Choisya ternata situated in the shrub border adjacent to the garage was, we thought,  damaged beyond repair by the cold.  With the bark split and pulling away and the foliage brown we cut it to the ground - it had two chances.  Two months later and there are signs of life - half a dozen shoots have erupted from the stumps and it seems the large hole in the border will soon be filled again.

The biggest news, though, is one that we’d really given up on.  We're in the school of thought  that digging your dahlias up each year and storing them in a frost free spot is a waste of time.  After this winter and with other casualties in plain sight we thought that our practice of always leaving ours in the ground, with a layer of mulch for protection, may have been a mistake.  But No!  All of our dahlias appear to be pulling through.  Numerous shoots (pictured) are emanating from the buried tubers and it seems that the one plant we expected to lose has forgiven us for its harsh treatment.