UK hardy stocks reassessed after two cold winters

Two cold winters have caused growers and gardeners to reassess what is hardy in the UK after years of successfully bringing exotics into the country.

Cornwall Council's Morrab Gardens in Penzance has looked again at its "subtropical" label after being hit by frost in 2009.

The local authority's parks department head gardener Stuart Wood said: "We've planted a lot of tender plants at Morrab Gardens over the years. We hit minus five this year, which is very unusual because we're this far south and so close to the sea. But in the past two winters temperatures have dropped and Lampranthus, Euonymus, Agave and bananas have all suffered."

Wood said bananas were recovering and Cordyline and Phoenix palms had narrowly avoided cold damage. He added: "We'll certainly have to be more cautious with some varieties now. We're not going to put all our eggs in one basket like we have been doing."

Cornwall Garden Society representative Giles Clotworthy said: "There has been the temptation to plant more semi-tropical plants because of Cornwall's maritime climate. "Dicksonia tree ferns were very slow to recover after winter 2008 and after being frosted again in 2009 some are beginning to look like they will not survive.

"I think a lot of people are going to become much more hesitant about planting things that have become commonplace after two punishing winters. We've been reminded what can survive and what can't. Camellias and Rhododendrons are very frost-hardy unless you go for more delicate ones.

"There have been big losses but the good news is that our spring flower show (held at Boconnoc on 10-11 April) brought good sales for nurseries because gardeners who have lost plants are restocking on a wide scale."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Business planning - Managing price volatility

Business planning - Managing price volatility

There are options to help you manage the impact of exchange rate fluctuations when buying from abroad, Neville Stein advises.



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Pitches - seeds and consumables

Pitches - seeds and consumables

The right seeding and inputs are essential for keeping grass in top condition and ensuring that pitches look and perform at their best, says Sally Drury.

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles