Posted: 09/04/2015 at 21:37
Rather than blocking the wind you need to filter it as blocking just creates eddies and swirls that do all the more damage. I have a very exposed garden that gets every gale going and usually goes down to -15C in a normal winter and has been down to -32C. My soil is mostly fertile, alkaline loam on a clay sub soil so varying drainage and moisture levels. I use trellis panels to separate bits of garden and further reduce wind strength and have a hawthorn hedge at the windiest end of the garden and assorted shrubs and a holly hedge elsewhere though that has struggled to establish owing to very cold winters after it was planted and then the neighbouring cows eating the new shoots.
I put windbreak fabric along the entire northwest boundary this year and the added wind resistance has done wonders for the fruit bushes in my veg patch and the ornamental shrubs in the rest of the garden but in the recent gales the posts of the metal mesh boundary fence were blown to 45° angles despite having concrete boots and have had to be propped up with struts.
I find evergreen shrubs struggle except for one or two conifers in sheltered positions. A snowball viburnum is still here but all its tinus cousins and an eleagnus, chosiya and a few others all froze to death. I have 4 forms of cornus which do very well every year and also philadelphus, sambucus, weigelias, euonymous europa, buddleia, physocarpus, cotinus, salix, lilac plus a prunus cerasifera, betula jaquemontii, parrotia persica, gingko biloba, a toothache tree and an acer negundo plus two crab apples and a damson tree . It remains to be seen how my growing collection of hydrangea paniculatas are doing as they have yet to show any buds this spring.
I grow a wide range of perennials - aquilegia, astrantias, astilbes, astilboides, bergenias, cornflowers, achilleas, phlox, lysimachias, hemerocallis, irises, dicentras, geraniums, geums, potentillas, anemones, primulas, lychnis, hellebores, ligularias, pulmonarias, hostas, persicarias and so on. They just take their time coming through in spring. No sign of hostas yet, for example, and plenty of others still hibernating.
I can grow miscanthus, carex and molinia grasses but not pennisetum or stipas which are too nesh.
I can't grow group 1 clematis alpinas or montanas or macropetalas as they get frozen or blasted at flowering time but have Red Robin and Red Ballon doing very well. There are some group 3s which get pruned to the base in March and which are hardy to -25C and do very well here and I have a few group 2s which I treat as group 3s and prune hard.
Some roses struggle and others do well but I've had to lift some and pot them up so they can spend winter in the greenhouse or shed.
Shelter belts, mulching and patience are what you need.