ASK DIAR­MUID

Gloucestershire Echo - - YOUR GARDEN -

QI HAD a beau­ti­ful camel­lia in my gar­den. Un­for­tu­nately it bloomed in Fe­bru­ary when we had some sun­shine and it shouldn’t have blos­somed un­til April.

The frost in March just wilted the whole plant.

The leaves are now all brown and with­ered and it looks as if it’s dead. Is there any­thing I can do? Marie To­hill

AHI MARIE. From your de­scrip­tion, it sounds like your camel­lia has suf­fered

se­vere frost dam­age. When plants are tricked into putting out new growth by un­sea­son­able win­ter warmth, the new soft leaves are then highly sus­cep­ti­ble to be­ing killed off by a cold snap.

It may not re­cover but I have seen plants spring back to life phoenix-like the fol­low­ing year. My ad­vice would be to cut back all the dam­aged parts and see if any growth re-emerges.

If noth­ing has hap­pened by next spring then there’s no point hang­ing on to it any longer.

Another way of de­ter­min­ing life is to scrape part of a branch with your nail – if it’s green un­der­neath, your shrub is still alive.

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