Wednesday, 3 December 2008

JACK FRICKIN' FROST














Okay that's it, no more jokes about BBC weather online, now I just hate them. I checked their temps before I went to bed last night and the whole of London was a zero. NORMALLY this would mean that where I live (a little warm microclimate just the other side of the river from Kew Gardens) there was no hard frost. 

However when I woke up this morning all my echiums were frosted. Sigh. I know they can get through this kind of a punch because it's happened before, but honestly, I'm just infuriated with the website. 

I think I should have an air thermometer on the window really. But then the plants nearest the house haven't been touched by frost at all - a bottlebrush, a Euphorbia mellifera, so obviously the air nearest the house isn't freezing. 

So I would like to know - how do you know if frost is going to be hard, or just a dusting? What equipment do you use and trust? Or are you just out there on cold nights, sniffing the air and saying "Aha" like a Johnny Deppish sort of gardener-pirate? All tips gratefully received. 


12 comments:

Zoë said...

I haven't an answer, and being in the sticks we get hit a lot more often.

Stuff near the house usually survives here too, but if in doubt my mantra is, 'Put on the horticultural fleece' .

I end up with a garden full of bizarrely shaped ghostly figures, particularly if frosts are forecast around blossom break time in Spring on my trained fruit trees - I cover them with miles of the stuff to protect the flowers.

Thanks for the donation to the cause, that's VERY generous of you, hope you enjoy reading the Christmas Greetings blog I set up.

Zoë xx

emmat said...

Well I definitely put on the fleece jackets if I know it's going to be a hard night... I'm just so cross that I didn't realise. Grrrrrr..... should have known, it was EXTREMMELY cold yesterday...

PS yesterday i put a link to your Xmas site at the top of my sidebar - but I have just added you to the blogroll too.

easygardener said...

I've got a weather station with an exterior sensor, the weather forecast on my computer, stocks of horticultural fleece and bubble fabric, plus windows that I stare out of - yet still I put off doing anything.
I blame milder winters (lol)

Alex said...

You need one of those magic plastic fish things that you used to get in your sack from Father Christmas as a nipper, the ones where you put them in the palm of your hand and if it turns over it means you're going to be going on a long journey, etc. Put one of those on your kitchen table during the day and check on it just before you go to bed. If the tail curls up, then it's a hard frost. If the fins turn up, it's a dusting. If it just sits there, it means it's perfect digging weather.

emmat said...

my sister still buys me one of those fortune telling fish, practically every year. Are you sure you can use them for weather? i thought they were just for predicting when you were going to meet a dark handsome stranger

VP said...

You need Richard Angwin, our local weather forecaster on our local BBC telly. Almost always a different forecast to the national weather and BBC websites, but is the most accurate.

That and a touch of the Johnny Depps for good measure, because being at the bottom of a hill, next to a stream adds a touch of local microclimate that bears checking out from time to time.

And lots of root protecting mulch I find is more helpful than ghostly wrappings. I uncovered my olive tree one year to find it had provided the perfect cover for leaf munching moths to cosy up all winter and devour the lot!

Weeping Sore said...

Err on the side of caution. We get a killing frost here in San Diego maybe once a year. I tuck in my basil and coleus under old towels a total of about 2 weeks a year. My garden looks goofy but my babies survive.

emmat said...

Old towels! I love that idea. But in San Diego, really? The only time I ever went there it was like Some Like It Hot

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I got so ticked off at the WeatherChannel last spring when they failed to forecast a 2d night of frost. I had protected my Tree Peony buds the 1st night, but I failed to protect them the 2d night. I lost all of them.
I usually try to roll with the frost punches, but for special things, such as the Tree Peony buds, I have covered them with bubble wrap, but that is dangerous, as it must be removed as soon as the frost has burned off, or the plant will get cooked by the sun. I've also poured shredded leaves back onto the Mophead Hydrangeas if a late frost is threatened. For annuals in large containers, sheets or bathtowels also work.

emmat said...

The weather channel! You think they could get that one right! What else do they have to do all day long? it's not like they do anything else, right?

colleen said...

In LBTH, we just go with the flow. John tells me there was ice on the Isle of Dogs this morning, but here in our Mile End back yard it was fine.

He's given up worrying about it.

C

Juliet said...

The met office website seems to be the most accurate for our weather. I've also got an indoor weather station with exterior sensors - mine is just a basic one but you can get much posher expensive ones if you have money to splash out (or rich people buying you Christmas presents!). At the first sign that there might just possibly be a frost I also put fleece jackets around the bottoms of my less hardy pots - if you put them this way, from underneath rather than from over the top, then whenever any kind of frost is forecast you can just roll them up over the plant and pull the drawstring, and when it's milder you can roll them down again - takes a few seconds and is much less hassle than putting them on over the top every time. No good if you have tender things in the ground though, obviously!