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in Problem solving
I have 3 Echium Pininana (Tree Echium) which are barley half grown, now about 1.5m, thanks to the awful summer. They are too big to dig up and repot in the greenhouse (and probably wouldn't survive this anyway): is there any way of protecting them over the winter in the hope that they may survive outside, or, is moving into the greenhouse a must?
Any advice as to how to save them most welcome
Lucky you! First of all, don't prune out anything healthy, if you were going to. That way, anything that gets frost-nipped was more likely to be superfluous anyway). I'd put something around their feet (those foam packing thingies are ideal as they don't rot or hold water, but straw or even thick grass cuttings would do) then surround them with tall canes. Then place a couple of taller ones together somewhere in the middle of the plant. Wrap the outer in 2 or 3 'ply' of garden fleece and then give them a separate 'lid' of it too (perhaps wrapping string round to tie it on). I use cane toppers to hold my fleece on. You should end up with each plant sitting in its own little tent. That should do it - just remember to take the lid off now and again to let a little air in, and to shake off snow before it has chance to cave the roof in. In spring, you can gradually reduce the thickness of the wrapping and even leave it off altogether during the day, just draping around loosely at night and when its frosty. That'll let them know the days are starting to lengthen. Thats also a good time to remove the insulation from their feet. If you dry the fleece etc before storing, you can reuse it the next year. P.S. A friend of mine uses that woven willow screening to hide her tents for the winter!
trust auntie betty's sounds good to me.