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Northumberland, United Kingdom Gb

A novice gardener seeking some advice from someone more experienced than myself: we are at 200 metres in Northumbria: the prevailing south westerlies blow into our garden: there is some protection from walls etc. but the winds do find their way in.

Please recommend some hardy container plants [we do not have a greenhouse [so the plants will be exposed during the winter]. I intend to plant bulbs etc around the circumfrence but need some ideas for bushes, small trees [max. height, for example, 1.0 m. plus].

Looking forward to some words of recommendation.




Hi John, I live in the N.E. as well Cleveland, just a few shrubs I have no trouble with hebe,hardy fuschia, rhodadendrum, azalia , camelia on a west facing fence (must not get morning sun) a magnolia stalata is slow growing and has lovely white flowers in the spring and lavender looks lovely grown in containers the list is endless.
I recommend finding a good garden encyclopedia I had one bought as a present and Ive picked up quite a few at car boot sales you might also pick up some bargain shrubs from markets and boot sales. Oh and phormiums look good in pots as well the list is endless have a look and see what you think will look good in your garden.

12 Aug, 2011


Sorry to put a spanner in the works, but check on the hardiness of any Hebes before you buy them. I live in the mild South-west, and lost most of my Hebes last winter. :-(

The RHS is a good starting point - they have a star system for hardiness, and award three stars if a plant is considered to be hardy in the whole of the UK. If you can get hold of any of the RHS books, they're very good guides as to what to plant where.

12 Aug, 2011


Your local garden centres and nurseries may be a good guide to what will survive your winter winds and nurserymen are usually happy to give you advice. Look around at neighbouring gardens to see what does well. Re the shelter from the wall, remember that a wall blocks the wind completely so it swoops over the top and down the other side even faster than it was going before, whereas bushes actually slow it down so planting something windproof but taller than the wall on the SW side should help shelter the rest of the garden somewhat. It would put that part of the garden in shadow earlier than before but its swings and roundabouts.

12 Aug, 2011


I'd trust a nursery but not necessarily a GC where most of the staff will not have a clue... Follow Spritzhenry's advice and use the RHS info

13 Aug, 2011


if you're planting in containers be aware that some are not frost proof and also that hard frosts can kill the roots through the pots , insulating them for the winter may help but last year was exceptionally cold and I lost plants in pots in the GH

13 Aug, 2011


I agree with Pamg - looking up the hardiness of plants is useful, but frankly, in pots in a very cold winter, they're all vulnerable, because the compost in the pot may freeze - if it does that for longer than a couple of days, it kills the roots of the plants. You can get round that to a degree by moving the containers against a sheltered wall, say against the house, specially a wall with a radiator just behind on the inside. Clustering them together helps, as does wrapping the pots in bubble wrap, but in really severe weather such as last year's, you may lose them anyway.
The other factor is the size of the pots - the larger the better, frankly, from a planting point of view and also the risk of freezing angle.
Small evergreens to consider are Euonymus microphyllus, Photinia LITTLE Red Robin (not just Red Robin), Skimmia reevesiana, and for trailing over the edge, small hedera helix varieties are useful in winter, though they'll need heaving out every couple of years and tearing apart and replanting, or they'll take over the pot. There's also a whole variety of dwarf conifers which make attractive subjects in tubs - but you must keep up with the watering during drier months. Note that Skimmia requires ericaceous compost, or a mix of that and ordinary potting compost, and does better in half and half sun/shade or full shade.

13 Aug, 2011


Agree MG, shouldn't have put garden centres. Though there are exceptions, like Bridgemere, which I was lucky enough to live near at one time. Spoiled me for everywhere else.
Bamboo, wouldn't small conifers in pots suffer from cold winds in that position?

13 Aug, 2011


Much less likely - they're south westerlies, not north or east. Plus there's quite a list of conifers which don't mind cold windy sites - Cupressus, Juniperus, Pinus, Thuja, Tsuga, Chamaecyparis. What none of them likes is to dry out completely.

14 Aug, 2011


So the trouble is when the wind has dried them out and nobody remembers to water them. You don't think about watering in the winter - well I don't anyway!

19 Aug, 2011


The time we all usually get it wrong is autumn - because its chilly, damp and getting darker, we tend to assume our pots don't need water - but they often do. Usually as winter progresses though, watering isn't necessary - until and unless we have a warm, dry spell. And sometimes that's February.

20 Aug, 2011

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