Measures for garden wind protection can take various forms, and they are essential for making sure that the fruits of your labour don’t suffer in poor weather.
With the UK still recovering from Storm Ciara and more strong winds being forecast over the next few weeks, there’s a real need to protect your plants by creating as much shelter as you can.
How to Protect Your Garden During a Storm
When you’re in the middle of a period of bad weather and the wind and rain is lashing down, your options to protect your garden are limited, but there are several ways you can make the best of the situation:
> Move potted plants into the cover of a greenhouse to prevent them from taking the brunt of the wind.
> If you don’t have a greenhouse, the shelter of a wall, hedge, fence or corner can also give a bit of additional protection.
> Gale-force wind often brings rain and cold with it. Put out some frost protection fleeces to give plants some complementary defences.
> Embed a cloche around your bedded plants. Try to drive the pegs in about 2 inches.
> Secure things like loose garden ornaments, stonework or free-standing bird houses to make sure the wind doesn’t carry them into your plants.
> Invest in some soft tie plant supports and secure delicate plants to trellises or arches. Don’t resort to using string, as this can actually cut into your plants.
> Keep your plants well hydrated if you know a storm is incoming, as strong winds can dry out the ground around them (obviously, this won’t apply in heavy rain!).
> Use a soil moisture metre to regulate the amount that your plants have been watered.
> When you get a break in any rain, pop outside to turn your compost and make sure the moisture is being distributed evenly.
Take Precautions Before You’re Expecting Bad Weather
With storms becoming more common, you can easily get caught out by bad weather, leading to a garden that’s a shadow of its former glory. Because of that, the time to really implement garden wind protection and some defences against accompanying rain is before they hit; preferably as early as when you’re planning out a garden!
Here are some tips from the Greenhouse Sensations team:
> Try not to plant in areas that might be caught by water pouring off a roof or out of a gutter. Water run-off can severely harm your plants.
> If there’s an area of your garden that seems to always get waterlogged, prioritise bog plants like ferns, fritillary and hosta. Always match plants with their preferred soil types.
> Improve drainage by applying mulch around the base of plants, and where possible stand pots on feet or support.
> Stake your plants well as they grow. Don’t leave it until the weather is bad! For plants like beans or cosmos, you might consider canes or a circle support.
> Look for areas of your garden that seem to be naturally sheltered and put them to good use!
> If you’re into garden design, you could think about dividing your garden into “rooms” or even digging a sunken garden to shield against wind.
> Consider investing in a wall-mounted greenhouse to guard against the drying effect of winds.
> Group your plants together! Groups of plants give support to each other.
> Prioritise short plants that don’t grow straight up: get some that are happy spreading out. Things like dianthus, phlox, aubrietia, sedum and campanula are ideal.
> Ornamental grasses, like Stipa tenuissima and Miscanthus sinensis, or gaura will sway in the wind, rather than break. You can use them to fill out your garden.
> Create some wind barrier screens using something like bamboo, trellis or artificial plants to break up wind and offer extra support to your plants. Avoid solid barriers.
> Trees and shrubs like pine, hawthorn, Norway spruce, holm oak and black elder are all good choices. Dot them about rather than creating any lines.
More Plants & Shrubs for Windy Gardens
Of course, we might be in the thick of an inclement weather spell right now, but some gardens just seem to funnel the wind all year around. Does that mean your choice of plants has to be hugely restricted by this fact? Not necessarily, as the variety of suitable flora is quite broad.
There are a surprising amount of plants that do well in windy gardens. For example, Japanese anemones are far sturdier than you’d expect. And single or semi-double flowered roses with stiffer, more individual stems can withstand windy conditions; especially if you tie in a climber. Hardy geraniums, brachyglottis, hawthorn, allium, erysimums, eryngium variifolium, cordyline and catmint are all recommended survivors for windy conditions too
If you’ve got any more questions about how to best protect your plants from strong winds and stormy rain, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for some more advice.