Protect precious plants from frost.
Byline: JOBS FOR THE WEEK by Hannah Stephenson
AS THE weather cools, plants will need covering, bulbs will need lifting or mulching and extra winter protection given to tender specimens which will have to be brought indoors if they are to survive the coldest months.
WRAP THEM USE horticultural fleece, hessian or bubble wrap around permanent plants in pots. If you have lots of pots, huddle them together near a house wall, where it will be slightly warmer.
Use one large length of protective material tied securely so it doesn't blow off in winter.
Next time you're planting, line the inside of the pot with bubble wrap to save you having to do it in the autumn. Plants in borders which can't be moved should be wrapped in horticultural fleece, from the base of the trunk upwards.
The leaves of tree ferns and other tender plants such as cordylines should be tied upright, packed with straw and covered with horticultural fleece, with a layer of mulch over the root area.
MAKE A FRAME SMALL tender shrubs can be protected with makeshift frames made from chicken wire or a bamboo wigwam packed with straw and covered in netting. In wet weather, temporarily cover with clear polythene to stop rot.
If frost is forecast, use old curtains to cover borderline hardy plants overnight.
MOVE THEM INDOORS TENDER plants, such as geraniums, begonias and half hardy fuchsias will need to be covered before the first frosts.
LIFT PLANTS DIG up tubers and rhizomes like cannas and dahlias once the foliage has been blackened by the first frost. Cut them to within 5cm of the base and remove all loose soil and dry them, before storing in dry sand or soil in a frost-free place like a shed (dahlias) or a greenhouse or conservatory (cannas). In a mild area, you may get away with just a thick mulch such as straw or compost around the roots.