Monday, 27 December 2010

Dan Hinkley's socks

I realise that a cardinal rule of stripping is to lose the socks first, but when getting ready for bed last night I rediscovered that I was wearing two pairs of socks, and that the uppermost pair had once belonged to Dan Hinkley. That's largely irrelevant: the point is that it was so cold that I was compelled to wear two pairs of socks yesterday. The thermometer on the hen run registered -15oC at 7.30 am and was still at -12 three hours later. It really didn't seem much warmer inside - hence the need for extra insulation of the extremities.

-15oC is the coldest temperature I have experienced in this country and I await with trepidation the effects in the garden. Fortunately the ground is deeply covered in snow so underground parts have not been subjected to these temperatures - though there was no such protection when the ground froze hard in late November. Exposed parts have borne the brunt, however, and there are going to be some extensive casualties among evergreens I think - even Phlomis fruticosa looks thoroughly 'fried'. For the moment we can only wait and see what comes back with the spring.

The good news is that the temperature then rose through the day yesterday, hovering at zero at dusk, and is now 'comfortably' positive at 3oC and the forecast suggests positive temperatures for the rest of the week, though there may be an unpleasant mix of rain and snow tonight.


  1. We had around -16 last week here in Malvern and are stupidly excited about it reaching a dizzzy 3 degrees today.

  2. Temperature here in Cheltenham was -13 on Christmas night; now the thaw has begun & Daphne bholua's leaves are entirely black & I fear the worst, but Euphorbia x pasteurii looks like there's still some live growth. Many of the Cordyline australis in town look like they'll die, unfortunately not the one in my garden.

  3. If my Mac's temp. converter is correct, that's 5℉, John. That was the warmest it got the day after Christmas in Palmer, Alaska, my home town. Yikes!

    Here in Seattle our temps are again about to plunge below freezing for nearly a week with no snow cover. The evergreen broadleaves are not happy. The Daphne bholua's are limping and may get frozen to the ground this time, as happens before. They always come back from the roots - quickly.

    We don't touch any such plants until well into May. Not even a nip or a bit of grooming. Nothing. Just let them look ugly until then when most resprout from the base or below ground. It's surprising how many come back once the ground warms deeply. Those that get a tidy in March or April die.

    Fingers crossed that this is the end of winter extremes for all of you.

    . . . . By the way, just how did you end up with Dan's socks?


  4. Dear John,

    I am wearing 3 pair of socks!!!! ALSO AT NIGHT!!!! Just thought this information would give a bit of comfort to you:o)
    It is extremely cold overhere too:o)

  5. @PatientGardener - alas my recording thermometer is broken, so I don't have an absolute minimum. You can expect an ice cap on the Malvern Hills as this glaciation progresses.

    @Malcolm: Daphne bholua looks pretty crock here too. Cordyline a no-hoper here anyway!

    @Jim: Dan inadvertently left them behind after staying here once: they periodically rotate to the surface of the sock drawer.

    @Tante G: Three pairs! Brrrrr....

  6. Poor Daphne bholua looks so sad and defoliated this year...AGAIN. I had to assure my client, who I co-designed a Himalayan landscape for, that it would be back.

    Stay warm and think spring....SOON!!


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