Putting frost tender plants away for the winter

It's time to get those tender perennials tucked up in their winter quarters

We really enjoy growing "tender perennials" to have outside in pots for the summer, they contribute to the influence of travel on our style of gardening. Having already had a couple of light frosts so far this winter, it is now time to get them put away in our frost free greenhouse before any sharper frosts come along. We have stopped growing some of the desperately tender things that we have grown in the past, such as the Ethiopian banana Ensete ventricosum 'Maurellii' and the silver leaved protea Leucodendron argenteum. But we do still have quite a few that won't take frost, such as our collection of Plectranthus, a tree fern, a bird of paradise Strelizia regina amongst them. We "double glaze" our wooden greenhouse over the winter with rigid twin wall plastic sheets fastened to the sides on the outside and to the inside of the roof, and we run a small thermostatically controlled fan heater in there which all serves to keeping it just above freezing. The plants don't grow during this time but go into a period of dormancy, so we have to be careful to water them sufficiently to keep them alive but not so much as to cause them to rot. And so over the last week or so there has been a steady trail of plants heading for their winter quarters. It has to be said though, getting them out for the summer is just so much more fun!

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