The mild December weather has left many people pining for a white Christmas, but spare a thought for plants. The unseasonably high temperatures have totally confused plants at a specialist plants centre in Shrewsbury.
Plants that traditionally flower in the spring and summer are already in bloom or producing buds and leaves.
Heather Evans, assistant manager at Love Plants at award winning caravan dealership Salop Leisure at Emstrey, says she can’t remember having seen anything like it before.
Summer flowering Agapanthus, or the African lily, has baffled staff by coming into bloom alongside standard Camellias, while roses and fruit bushes are already in leaf as if it’s spring.
“Nature is confused because we have had no hard frosts yet,” said Heather. “If the mild weather continues, we might well have a very early spring next year.
“The Agapanthus normally flowers in the summer and that is in bloom outside now, which I have never seen before. The Camellias are under cover but we would not expect them to be in bloom until February and they are in full flower.
“You would not expect to see green growth on roses until March, yet they have been shooting since November. We’ve also had reports from customers of daffodils in bloom.
“The message to gardeners is not to panic. When the frost does finally arrive, the green growth will shrivel and drop off, ready to start again in the spring.
“This year we had a very late spring because it was cold until June, so you almost get a feeling that the seasons are changing.”
Heather urged gardeners not to get lulled into a false sense of security about protecting tender plants from frost this winter. Her advice is to protect vulnerable plants with fleece but to remember to remove it for part of the day to stop condensation damage.
She also advises to wrap containers with bubble wrap to prevent the risk of expanding frozen water inside cracking the container.
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