Coastal plant spreads round Britain
The first bear of the year

Transatlantic frost protection

Frost protection,Pennsylvania,fleece,sheets,bedsheets. Image: © Do not reproduce in any way without permission. I arrived back in Pennsylvania the day before yesterday, after a very trying flight from London I have to say, to find judy hard at work in the garden. She was protecting the fresh new growth of so many perennials and shrubs against the forecast frost by spreading old sheets over the plants. It had worked in previous years, and for the previous few days, so she was at it again.

Every old sheet in the house was pressed into service, in fact so many sheets were dragged out that I feared my first night back would be spent in a sleeping bag. Anyway, it worked again. But as the garden expands I think we’re going to have to order a roll of fleece (garden fabric, to US gardeners).

Frost protection,British Museum,fleece,Kew Gardens. Image: © Do not reproduce in any way without permission. As it happens, just a few days earlier I’d taken a look at the new South Africa Landscape being installed outside the British Museum in Bloomsbury, central London. And with frost forecast there too, they adopted the same approach. In spite of global warming and the advantageous microclimate of central London, Bloomsbury is still not quite like that of South Africa. That’s not to say that a taxi was sent round to the Director’s house to roll him out of bed and collect his bed sheets. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (Kew Gardens to most of us) were planting the display and used the same fleece we should be buying for our Pennsylvania garden.

The idea of the planting at the British Museum, by the way, is to highlight the extraordinary diversity of plant life native to South Africa’s Cape region and to make connections between plants, people and the objects on display in the museum’s Africa galleries. Sounds fascinating. The display opens on Thursday.

Find out more about the South Africa Landscape at the British Museum.