A Frosty Reception

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!

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12 Responses to A Frosty Reception

  1. Never too much pink in my eyes. 🙂

  2. Anna says:

    That dahlia looks rather sad Cathy but should perk up and be smiling soon. My sister bought us an all singing and dancing weather station for Christmas which links to our mobiles. I woke up about 5.00am yesterday morning and the temperature was 2°C in the greenhouse 😱The little electric heater is meant to come on when it gets to 3° so I shot out of bed, put some warm clothes on and went off to investigate. The heater had got shoved to the back of the greenhouse the day before so maybe that had offended it’s delicate constitution. Anyway it came on as soon as I moved it. No visible signs of a frost when I re-emerged but it must have been touch and go. Glad to hear that one particular mystery is no longer a mystery 😄

    • Cathy says:

      Ooh lucky you with your singing and dancing weather station – ours isn’t as posh as that! Mind you, wifi wouldn’t reach the working g/h – or does that not matter? I unplugged our g/h heaters a few weeks ago as I felt the contents would be OK, which they were. For the dahlias it shouldn’t set them back much, but that clematis will take longer. Hope you are not awake at 5.00 every morning Anna!

  3. susurrus says:

    There’s no such thing as too pink! I hope your tender plants have come through the worst.

    • Cathy says:

      At the moment it’s a bit of a samey pink though! And yes, it was just a touch of frost so the dahlias and clematis will pick up again – I noticed one or two other things too

  4. Heyjude says:

    No frost here, but a cold wind has blackened some of my clematis. And I am sure the Acer in the courtyard isn’t very happy!

    • Cathy says:

      Ah, you think wind damage? That’s interesting as I hadn’t thought of that – and we had a few days of relatively chilly brisk breezes, so for the clematis here it could have been a combination perhaps

  5. Cathy says:

    I hope the dahlia make a full recovery Cathy. My butternut, zucchini and tomatoes are wrapped up again tonight! It seems a lot of people have had these late frosts this year. My summer pots will be put out again tomorrow and I also seem to have a lot of pink. But pink is good! 😃

    • Cathy says:

      There were 11 dahlias planted out and all have a touch of frost, but they will recover, I am sure. Last year the last frost was mid April

  6. So sorry you had frost damage Cathy. I feel your pain as we had 3 nights last week and many more before that. It certainly is disheartening to get up and see all the damage. My clematis survived but many of the Hostas are damaged most likely for the duration of the summer. Hopefully you will now be free and clear of any more frosty nights. I think we are finally on the way to summer at last.

    • Cathy says:

      Wherabouts are you, Cindy? Here, our hostas start emerging fairly early so I can’t imagine frost being an issue – and I had never thought about it being an issue for clematis until I got these mystery florida type ones. They should recover, although the one with blackened leaves might take longer, and the dahlias will soon put out new growth. Hope none of your damage is irreversable

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