Almost time to bring in frost-prone

Bring in citrus plants for the winter. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Bring in citrus plants for the winter. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

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Where possible, we propagate from favourite plants well in advance of the winter period, and this saves on storage space.

Typical candidates are the penstemons, which are such good value in summer displays.

Collections covering a range of colours are forever appearing as offers in the gardening press, and it was one of these that started our present range off.

Even as autumn tightens its grip, there are suitable stems for softwood cuttings presenting themselves.

Time is fast-approaching to bring in frost-prone plants growing in large containers that were turned out in the garden for a summer break.

Citrus fruits benefit greatly from this treatment.

Two lemons and an orange tree, the former with large fruits on board, went out in mid-June and have revelled in a sunny spot behind the greenhouse, putting on new growth.

At the end of this month we’ll get them on the sack barrow and head for the conservatory.

Once settled near the begonia rex plants, they’ll get down to business with highly-scented, white flower production, followed by a new crop.

Lemon verbena, also known as Aloysia citriodora, is one shrubby plant we’ve had for years and would not dream of leaving out in the cold.

So it will be transported, large pot and all, into the greenhouse as usual at the end of October.

There’s enough moisture in the out-of-season atmosphere pervading an unheated greenhouse to sustain such deciduous plants so no watering is required.

But just in case it decides to give up on us after all this time, there are pot-grown young plants, taken as stem cuttings earlier in the year, to fall back on.

A belt and braces job perhaps, but it’s what you do for favourites.