In 2015 the Met Office decided it would start naming the storms which batter the UK, so far we’ve had Abigail, Barney, Clodagh and the now infamous and devastating Storm Desmond. By giving names to the storms, the Met Office had hoped to raise awareness of more serious weather which was heading to our shores.
The UK has a long history of being battered by storms, perched precariously on the edge of the Atlantic we are just asking for trouble. In my own garden Storm Desmond made his mark, blowing over a heavy wooden arbour so that it smashed my patio furniture. I was less than impressed, but grateful that we’d escaped virtually unscathed compared to people battered and flooded out of their homes in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Gardens are always the most easily damaged part of your property. I’ve lost count of the number of fence panels we’ve had to replace due to winter storm damage, and if you’ve got a greenhouse, their fragile glass is always first to take a hit. The worst thing about that is the glass gets everywhere, and it’s very rarely safety glass, meaning there are sharp shards of glass all over your garden and buried in the soil ready to cut your fingers when you’re planting out.
The thought of a child or animal getting cut on broken greenhouse glass fills me with horror. I remember my uncle, a keen gardener who had a huge greenhouse, he was forever worrying about the glass breaking and wouldn’t let us near the garden until he’d painstakingly cleared up every shard of glass. Eventually he began to replace the glass with acrylic panels and they never broke again. Sensible.
So what can you do to minimise winter storm damage to your garden?
- Tidy up! Put away any garden furniture that can easily be blown about in high winds. Tether down anything (such as my wooden arbour) which could blow over or blow off.
- Create natural windbreaks by planting hedging or something similar, these won’t break like solid fence panels.
- Replace glass in greenhouses, sheds and other outdoor buildings with plastic greenhouse glazing. These are much stronger and more durable than traditional greenhouse glass and also transmit more light so they are ideal alternatives.
- Move plants in pots to a more sheltered and protected spot. This will protect the plant from wind damage and help stop the pot rolling around or getting damaged.
- Keep an eye on your trees for signs of damage or instability, if you’re unsure get a professional gardener or tree surgeon to take a look at it for you. It’s better to remove a damaged tree than wait for it to fall on your house in a storm.
It’s only January and I expect we’ll see a few more storms before the winter is out. Hopefully we won’t see anything as bad as Storm Desmond again for a while, but it’s worth taking a bit of time to help protect your house and garden from winter storm damage if you can.
= In collaboration with Simply Plastics =