I knew frost was possible this week so, having planted out most of my dahlias a couple of weeks ago, I covered them up on Monday with netting cloches. The weather app on my phone has shown me that the coldest time of the night is just before it gets light, but during lockdown I have been getting up a little later than usual, by which time the sun is shining and there is no evidence of any frost if there has been one. However, thermometers in the working greenhouse, now unheated, told me that temperatures dropped to a minimum of around 2°C on Monday night, so outside I guess it must have just touched freezing point – and clearly the mesh wasn’t enough to protect the dahlias as the tips of the leaves have been crisped and blackened a little, as you can see above. No massive harm done, but I wasn’t going to let it happen again, and the following two nights they were covered in tablecloths, in the absence of anything else appropriate!
One ‘positive’ outcome of the late frosts is that I have now been able to narrow down the potential varieties of two more of my mystery clematis. Prising open a large flower bud (curiosity was getting the better of me!) on one of them, from the colouring I was pretty sure it was C florida ‘Sieboldii’, but was only after finding a droopy clematis on Tuesday that I suddenly remembered the florida clematis had a reputation for being a little tender:
It didn’t occur to me immediately that the droopiness and blackened leaves was the result of frost damage, but when it did it certainly made sense – and on checking the clematis I had already guessed was C florida, although the leaves were barely affected, all the buds were drooping:
I can now pot up both these clematis in permanent pots, not yet able to label them, but sure in the knowledge that this the type of clematis they are and that they will need to be overwintered in the greenhouse. So, one herbaceous mystery clematis, two C florida, and just ‘a few’ more to identify!
Having informed me of this week’s light frosts, the weather app does not show any more in the next fortnight, by which time we will almost be in June when they would be even less likely – so I can finally begin to plant up the bulk of the pots and troughs. The plugs have almost all been flowering for a couple of weeks, and I am relieved to be finally planting them out. Having assessed the plants I used last year, the choice of plants for the four big square pots on the paved area has been modified and we shall see how this combination works – this year it includes fuchsia, pelargonium, verbena, calibrachoa and diascia, with leftover bellis. At the moment it might be looking just a little TOO pink!