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I like Adam's tip for differentiating between the regions of the country - albeit, if only for protecting plants. I usually have to add or deduct at least a month at each end of the growing seasons in other publications which concentrate mainly on below The Wash - just like the old weather forecasts!! Further North never seemed to exist! I do follow the recommendation for protecting fragile plants - only 2 months earlier. Thanks again, Adam.
I have a himalayan honeysuckle and I wonder if it will O/K in the winter or should I cut it back a bit as it is abouut 5ft to 6ft tall thanks Pippen

I live in the southeast and we cut our Leycesteria formosa back in early Spring

Pam LL x

I tried growing a couple of tender plants one year. They did well during the summer but I wasn't sure about fleecing over winter, whether once covered, you left them all winter till the following spring or took the fleece off on warmer days. I also wasn't sure whether to dig them up and put in the GH.

In the end I tied both up, covered them in fleece and dug one up, to spend the winter in the GH. One was uncovered early spring but both died, they rotted in the centre, it was a particularly cold winter in 2010 but I haven't tried growing anything tender since then.     

I have a container olive, bay, myrtle and blueberry trees.
I spent last winter rewrapping them every few days after the wind unwound the horticultural fleece. No amount of pinning and string would stop this.

This year brain wave.. I got the sewing machine out and made giant fleece bags which just I popped over the top of the plant and secured round the base.

Question. I live in village Suffolk and the plants are sheltered near the house how many layers of fleece, and therefore bags, per plant to protect from frost?M



Good morning Maggie - you livei where I lived for most of my life  

I wouldn't worry too much about the part of the trees above ground - I'd be protecting the pots by raising them up on feet so that they drain freely  and wrapping them in 2 or 3 layers of bubble wrap which will help avoid the soil from freezing solid and preventing the roots from 'breathing'.  

The big danger for plants like these is not cold per se, but cold & wet, so keep them in a sheltered spot against the house and keep them fairly dry.  I would only use your fleece bags during very cold spells, and remove them when the weather improves to keep good airflow around them and avoid any chance of damp conditions which might cause mildew and rot. 

Good luck, and give my love to Mid Suffolk 


There are large differences in the need for winter protection and when. I did not have a frost until the 1st Dec last year, this year it was the 5th Nov - even then it was -1C at the bottom of the garden and frost free near the house and garden walls.

I totally agree with Dove re only using fleece bags when needed and not just leaving them all winter, as you will get moulds/rot that will kill your plants.

Oh blow not so genius!  So I need to wrap the pots.   I have lots of old fine netting, so if I wrap the pots in the netting and stuff the netting with straw and lay the straw on the surface of the soil, will that do the trick.   Just trying to avoid the expense of buying bubble wrap.

So what was causing the falling, yellowed and spotty leaves on the bay and olive after last winters snow.?


You never put bubble wrap touching the plants themselves as that will rot the leaves.

For Musa basjoo, a hardy banana, all I do is wrap them with chicken wire, fill the straw and cover the top with plastic (not touching the plant itself)

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