How to cope with wild and windy weather

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THE trend of our future weather looks as though it’s going to involve more winds and rain.

While this is okay for the umbrella, wellington and waterproof trade it certainly isn’t any good for plants.

So, we have to change our tactics in the garden (yes, we do have tactics just like sportsmen). We have to change to plants that don’t need much attention but will still give satisfaction when looking out of the window on a rainy day by giving colour and interest.

Let’s have a look at some of the plants that will do the job without breaking the bank.

Arabis is a neat, low evergreen that makes mats of foliage with pink or white flowers in late spring.

Sempervivum are hardy succulents which form rosettes in green, burgundy, red or purple.

Primula auricula is a very neat plant with clusters of intricately coloured, often fragrant, flowers in spring.

Clivia Miniata has striking, broad, deep green leaves, and every spring it has sturdy stems of large, bright orange flowers. A real eye-catcher this one.

Aubrieta is a classic rockery plant with masses of small flowers in spring, which needs hard pruning with shears immediately after flowering. This one is a real favourite rockery plant with its many colours from lavender, rose pink, deep violet, red, purple and pale blue.

Another is heuchera, a beauty which you should grow in your garden because you just plant it and forget it and it provides beautiful, showy plants.

Japanese anemones are very tough perennials that need no attention but one which will certainly catch the eye with their upright stance and beautiful pink and white flowers in late summer into autumn.

Liriope is another evergreen with grassy-type leaves and stiff spikes of bobbly purple flowers in late summer.

Lavatera rosea is a fast growing shrub with greyish foliage and large pink flowers. This one needs hard pruning in spring and again in late summer.

Penstemon has glossy leaves and attractive tubular flowers clustered on erect spikes in red, white and pink all summer. The stems need cutting down in autumn and the crowns covered with peat.

Hemerocallis (day lily) makes clumps of arching leaves and masses of lily-like flowers in many colours during the summer.

Rudbeckia gold storm is a tough plant and easy to grow. The gold black-eyed flowers just keep coming in the summer and well into the autumn.

All hardy geraniums are ideal for gardeners, lazy gardeners, although I prefer to call them gardeners with little time to spend in the garden.

Geranium rozanne is especially good because it has large, blue flowers which are produced non-stop through the summer and autumn to form a river of blue.

Another recommended plant is dianthus, but grow Allwoods pinks which bloom all summer, whereas rockery pinks only flower once.

Next week I will have a look at fruit and vegetables which don’t require much work to grow.

Les’ tips

* If you have planted a shrub or tree – September to October is always a good time to do this because the soil is still warm but won’t dry out as it maybe would earlier in the year – it will pay to give some protection for a while because of the unpredictable weather patterns at the moment. Suddenly we could get severe cold east winds or hard frost which would probably kill newly planted shrubs.

The best protection is to put a ring of canes around the plant and wrap garden fleece around the canes then finish with green Netlon which will ensure the fleece stays in position to do its job. Then tie around with string.

* When digging up begonias leave the tops on and dry off thoroughly. As they become crisp and dry just gently break the tops off leaving a dry comb. These must be kept frost free and dry. The best method for storing corms is to use paper bags as the paper soaks up any dampness. It is also a good idea to dust with Flowers of Sulphur.

* Check tree ties and stakes regularly. The stakes should be firm and make sure the ties are not cutting into the trunks of plants as this will strangle the plants as the trunks expand.