Now that the cold weather has arrived, it is a good time to see how best to protecting plants from frost damage. At the moment at the Greenhouses, on cold nights we are covering our house plants and succulents with horticultural fleece, so they have both the protection of being under glass, and are under an insulating layer of horticultural fleece both of which do not block light.

If you have tender plants outdoors in pots, you shoud consider covering them with horticultural fleece (available from garden centres), and also of wrapping the pot (not the plant) with bubble wrap. If the pot is small enough and you have indoors space, you may decide to take your plants inside. If the plants are staying outside, it’s also a good idea to cluster your pots together and as near the house as possible to minimise exposure.

For plants that have to stay outside because they are too large to move or there is no indoor space, the question is when do you need to cover them at night?  Check the weather forecast, especially paying attention to night time temperatures of near zero degrees celsius. This is when you will know when you need to take action.

But then you ask, which plants are ‘tender’ and need frost protection?  This depends on a number of factors. The first is the location of your garden. If your outdoor space is quite sheltered, you may find that some tender plants survive perfectly well, but this wouldn’t be the case in a more exposed area. If you have a balcony or roof garden again the thing to bear in mind is how exposed it is.

Equally important is the variety of plant, and whether it is classified as ‘hardy’ or ‘tender’. Hardy plants can generally cope with a short spell of freezing temperatures. Popular cold hardy plants include clematis, honeysuckle, heuchera, euphorbia, hydrangeas, buddleja, rhododendrons and some rose varieties.

Tender plants (also sometimes called semi-hardy or half-hardy plants) are usually unable to survive hard frost, and need to be protected or brought indoors over winter. Popular tender plants include fuschia, dahlias, pelargoniums, canna lilies, begonias and some succulents.

In other BPCG news, this week you can sign up for the next session of our propagation team fixed term volunteering session which starts on Thursday 9 December and runs through to Thursday 3 February. Reply to this email if you’d like to join this session. After the Christmas holiday we will also start to run a propagation session on Saturday afternoon from 2pm until 4pm this will be a standard sign up session and you won’t have to commit to 6 weeks of volunteering.

All those cups of tea that we consume at the Greenhouses do lead to rather a quick turn over of our kettles!  If you happen to have a spare kettle at home that you’d like to give to the Greenhouses, please reply to kate@brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk.  Many thanks.

This weekend and next, we will be running our wreath workshops where people can make up their wreaths at the Greenhouses.  We will also be offering wreath kits to people to make up their wreaths at home. So on this Thursday we will be laying out our ‘wreath buffets’ of ornamental foliage, seedheads and dried flowers inside the upper greenhouse, and our evergreen foliage outside.  Our wreath kits will be available to buy from Friday 3rd and our workshops are on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December and then again on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December.

Talking of Christmas holidays, the Greenhouses are going to have one!  We will therefore be closed for volunteering and visiting from Friday 24th December to Sunday 2nd January.  We will be open again as usual for volunteering and visiting on Thursday 6th January.

Christmas parties was on the agenda for the BPCG Volunteer Meeting which we had last week. Clare Price gave a fascinating presentation of the BPCG map she is working on showing how in digital format the map will enable us to present ‘layered’ information on multiple aspects of the Greenhouses.  In printed format, this will be a lovely asset to enable people to see the full scope of the site. We all thought that trees were a great first focus for the layered map.  More on the map to follow in due course.

We had a lively discussion about best to run Saturdays recognising that this is a day when volunteering take up is often lower.  Finally we discussed when to have our Christmas party and concluded that true to non-conventional form we’d have a party in January.  A pot luck lunch was thought to be a nice idea.  Date to be confirmed but likely to be Sunday January 30th – save the date, bring a dish and wear warm layers!

Our next BPCG volunteer meeting will be on Thursday 27th January at 6.30pm again on Zoom.

In other news, we have been asked by Stop Funding Hate and Ethical Consumer to share an incredibly valuable campaign #HowToStopHate? The Guide was launched very recently and can be seen here https://stopfundinghate.info/how-to-stop-funding-hate-individual-guide/ It covers areas like: How to spot media hate and How to write a compelling message to those advertising alongside hateful media.