The cost of a cold winter


Richard Jackson, Carolyn Whetman and camera man Dave Last winter really did take its toll. As plants burst into life this spring, we're beginning to discover just how many have been killed by the cold.

I've lost three evergreen jasmines and my beautiful ball-shaped bays. At Wisley Gardens in Surrey, I hear that they've lost all their New Zealand Flax (phormiums) and around the country there are reports of many dead cordylines.

Some people, in sheltered areas, have fared much better. When I filmed with Carolyn Whetman in her beautiful Dawlish garden in March (that's us and ace camera man, Dave, in the picture), I was staggered to see an established, old gnarled olive tree growing outdoors and it was totally unscathed.

Against a wall, Carolyn proudly showed me a Chilean bellflower (lapageria rosea) that was happily producing new shoots – and that's a plant I thought would only survive over winter in a heated greenhouse!

It's been a bit of a shock to lose my plants but I'm still going to replace them with exactly the same varieties. It's a risk, I know, but one I'm happy to take. The pleasure they'll give me is more than worth it. But I'm buying some horticultural fleece to cover them if needed. Next winter, I'm planning to be one step ahead of the cold snap!

Happy gardening

Find out more about my Flower Power range at


  1. V A Turnbull April 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm -  Reply

    HI Richard. I need your advice. I have had a Wollemi pine for just over 12 months. All the leaves have turned brown, and hanging down. Could the cold have damaged it, and can it be revived. Val

  2. Mrs Janet Jones April 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm -  Reply

    Hello Richard, the frost got to my ball shaped bay laurel, can it be saved? It looks so sad in the pot but I haven’t given up yet! Hope you can advise me,
    Thankyou, Janet

  3. Marion Biscoe July 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Richard the cold spell we had this winter killed my 6 foot cordyline now we have had some good weather I have noticed I have red cordyline shoots growing from the base of the cordyline should I leave them till they establish .

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Cast your vote!

Never miss a post!

Sign up to our QGossip feed to get the latest posts in your mailbox.