Protect plants from frost damage
Have a quick tour of the garden to check on plants that will need a bit of TLC over winter. Now’s the time to put protection in place. Leave tender perennials such as gaura and penstemon unpruned until spring. Long stems can help protect younger more vulnerable shoots. Mulch around the crown with compost or chipped bark. Protect large tender exotics such as banana plants and tree ferns by holding their leaves upright and folding them over the crown. Stuff the cavity with straw, then secure with twine and wrap the crown and leaves with thick fleece. Move alpines to a porch or cold frame, or cover with a cloche or perspex to shelter from winter wet. Store tubers and rhizomes of cannas and dahlias in trays of damp compost in a cool but frost-free place (see p39). Check them monthly. If the compost is too dry, sprinkle with water to keep it just damp enough.