Gardening in a gale!

Have just completed wrapping up my garden during the past few days which now looks like an old Indian Camp with white frost fleece tepees dotted about the place. I would like to hear how other gardeners protect their more tender plants while resisting putting them under glass or plastic frames and such?
My tepees are made from 10' bamboo poles with either triangle or square bases, I find them very useful for preserving young borderline hardy plants which have yet to properly establish themselves. In my experience the tepee shape shrugs off the worst of the high winds (60-80mph) we have here and much of the rain. During the winter of 2001 for example, we had 150 consecutive days of rain. It's this wet that causes havoc particularly when coupled with the wind chill factor during January/February winds which can blast into the garden and then do several highly damaging laps inside it. The primary reason the Victorians enclosed their gardens with high walls was never to provide weather protection - they were too pragmatic for that - the walls were primarily built to keep out the light-fingered.
I live at 600' altitude in SW England. Lowest winter temp is -5C/22F which generally only lasts around 5 days out of 365. Generally night winter lows are about 4C/39F but not yet! Currently around 7C/44F. All this is ostensibly USDA Zone 9A!!!
Regards, Mike Gilmore, Winsford Walled Garden
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Actually Mike I think you'll find that walls trap sunshine/heat in the summer, but being solid will actually INCREASE wind speed and turbulence.
Best way to stop wind is with a semi permeable wind break. Preferably hedging etc..
However you're teepee ideas sound pretty good/standard.... Up here in the microclimes of London we merely protect semi tenders such as Musa and Gunnera with a wire/straw cage if neccessary..
Anything damp sensitve gets glassed in a well ventilated glass - house.
/ Jim North London, England, UK
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I had a similar Victorian walled garden for forty years. It was 3/4 acre with walls of varying height up to 18'. Very much more South West than Wisford and at only 300' ASL. The NW 'wall' was actually a 'SPM' hedge of Bay and Pittosporum, as this is the prevailing wind. I never thought the walls were for any purpose related to security but as a means of actually having the walls themselves as heat retainers and for numerous lean-to glasshouses. Every inch of the walls covered with quite exotic espaliers that would not have survived without the heat retained by the walls. Wind was very different within the walls and, because of the turbulence, seemed vertical rather than horizontal. I have seen Chase cloches actually hovering and only exceptionally damaged. Very seldom was anything genuinely blown down compared with damage in the un-walled garden. I cannot remember any non herbaceous plants that needed over-winter protection~ just a straw and leaf protection for the half hardy perennials. The walled exotics however were protected during early blossoming with screens of muslin that could be unfurled at any hint of frost. I agree with the previous contributor related to London's micro-climate. It is quite unbelievable what can actually thrive these days~~even more so than our extreme South West~ and they have so much better soil. Best Wishes
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Brian, Thanks for response. Very interested to hear you used pittosporum as wind breaks. I am using the same and have been most impressed. I am using about a dozen different cultivars/species instead of the ubiquitous taxus. Agree, herbaceous planting needs no protection, neither do Canna, Hedychium, Dahlia and the like. The south-facing wall is very hot in summer and was the death of the usual recommended climbers for sunny walls. Today we are cultivating holboella, bignonia,campsis and such like. Surprised to hear your comments on soil. Ours is 'heavy' but nutritious butwe do benefit from extra works provided by the Victorians when the garden staff numbered in the thirties!!! Instead of just the three of us. Mike Gilmore Winsford walled garden

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