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Brown & Black Leaves ?

In north Dublin last week I recorded temperatures just over -8 celcius and although the wind chill factor was something a lot greater than that, with the recent weather and the subsequent thaw….what one can see now is [maybe] mildly uncertain regarding what plants have survived the minus temperatures due to the fact that a lot are at present leafless and dormant.

A plants cells are made up essentially of water and in extreme conditions that water in the plant cells expands resulting in the cells bursting. The bit that’s important to you, the plant owner, is that once the plant cell has burst it is dead – and – put very simply beyond resurrection.

The question is how far or how much of the plant is actually dead, if it has just burnt some of the leaves or it has actually made it’s way into the ‘heart’ of the plant. For this there’s really no one definitive answer, but [for example] for my own bay laurel hedge [above] I’ll simply cut out the brown and work my way down the stems until I can only see green. It may well look a bit sparse and patchy after, but it’ll come back for next season. Smaller and younger plants may not have been so fortunate.

My advice is to get out into the garden and have a good rustle through the aftermath and give each plant a good close up inspection. In fear of a frost return you may consider mulching around the base of your plants which will aid them that little bit better – and – they will thank you for it come the new year.

Unsure if one of your plants has survived [?] you can contact me in the following ways…

See the image above…. this is [image below] the exact same hedge plant just 7 days ago.

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gunnera gunneraceae/ haloragidaceae

I love this plant. I simply love it. I’ve often heard people say that such a plant won’t grow in a particular place. The ‘with it’ thinkers of the horticultural societies will however suggest than you suit the plant to the place….

More often when it comes to boggy, sodden areas the plant range is ‘not the best looking’. Or we chose to raise that area and take away from ‘what could be…’ Got that spot. Embrace it.Because this plant is for you.

This is gunnera [gunneraceae/ haloragidaceae]. And so as not to bore the socks right off you, here’s the low down….

  • a genus of about 45 species
  • greeny yellowy flowers in summer
  • originates from wet areas of South America/ Africa/ Australia
  • looks like rhubarb[ish] when in full leaf
  • its got a kind of prickly stem and leaf [it doesn’t hurt you btw]
  • great by natural ponds
  • the lower flowers are female ; the uppermost male some are bisexual & some dioecious…..
  • grows quite well in irish weather
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