Hardier than first thought?!


The recent cold weather and snow has put me in mind of a book I read late last year – Garden Open Tomorrow by Beverley Nichols.  The book was written in 1968 which was a particularly bad winter.  Nichols starts the book with a chapter exploring what plants have survived the winter. 

“At the risk of sounding perverse, I would suggest that this fierce winter, from the gardener’s point of view , did a lot more good than harm, if only because it added to our stock of knowledge,  It forced us to revise many accepted notiions about the comparative hardiness of a whole host of plants:”

I was thrilled to see that my Restio (above) is still looking fairly good.  I suspect it may be because it is planted in a raised bed and its roots are fairly well protected by the leaves of a Hellebore which is  also in  the bed.  I bought the plant from the  Eden Project  three summers ago.  When I mentioned my acquisition to a gardening acquaintence I was told  in no uncertain terms that there was no way a restio would survive here in the Midland.  So far the restio is proving her wrong.

Another pleasant relief  is to see my Mathisella Green Dreams still looking healthy although a little limp.  I have had this plant two years and moved it last year to a more open aspect on the bank from a very  sheltered location where it  had got  out of control.  I was reliably informed that the plant would survive in a more open site and was tougher than I had  thought.  The plant  hasn’t exactly performed with the same vigour as it  did its previous location but I suspect it  is sulking a little.  Hopefully if it survives this winter then it will start to thrive in its  new location.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. gardeningasylum says:

    Your restio photo is beautiful. Nice you didn’t lose it. Hardiness is a funny concept and harsh weather is clarifying. I have some stipa tenuissima that should have died three winters ago still chugging along in central Connecticut.

  2. Michelle Wheeler says:

    What plants survive and the mechanisms they have in place to increase cell division is amazing.Throughout time they have adapted far better than us, I do feel that this weather has shown me as a hort student that some plants out of their natural environment do not like it and are very hard work.(she says sowing peppers and chillis).

  3. fairegarden says:

    Hi Helen, I love Beverley Nichols and love that you have proven the skeptics wrong with the Restio. We have looked at them, only to believe they will not grow in our zone. May have to rethink. 🙂

  4. I love the airy quality to your Restio… may it live long and prosper in your Midland garden! ;>)

  5. I’m happy to see that your plants are doing better than expected and that your row cover thing also did the job. It’s great that your Restio is defying the naysayers. You’ve shown that it’s good to occasionally ignore the standard recommendations.

  6. liz says:

    It always amazes me that plants manage to survive all the snow we’ve had recently… A lot of mine still seem to be around, have to admit I haven’t yet had a thorough look around the garden though 🙂

    Looking forward to spring!

  7. Elephant's Eye says:

    The restios should do OK with light frost. After all they are at home on top of our Groot Winterhoek mountain. Where they DO get SNOW in winter. And yours looks as if it not just surviving, but flourishing!

  8. Anna says:

    Just goes to show that plants don’t read the books. Have you taken any root cuttings from your mathisella yet Helen?

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