Head of Horticulture Wes gives us an update on the important work going on in the Gardens to protect our plants for Winter.
Many of the plants we grow in and around the display gardens are from warmer climates and will not survive a London winter, so at this time of year the gardening team are busy protecting them from cold temperatures, wind and rain.
Some plants like the Cyperus papyrus (papyrus) we dig up, containerise and leave in a heated green house until the spring.
Our banana plants are the hardy Musa basjoo. They will survive being left in the ground if protected from the elements. Bananas are often referred to as trees, but they are really giant herbaceous plants, the largest in the plant kingdom. Their true stem is underneath the ground in the form of a large rhizome. This is the part of the plant that really needs to be protected.
Gardener Damien begins this task by removing all the leaves and using them as mulch around the base of the plant. The stems are cut in half.
He then puts canes up in a wigwam like fashion around the clump and ties horticultural fleece tightly around, securing at the top and bottom.
This will keep the frost off of them, and more importantly keep them dry to avoid the rhizomes from rotting.
This appears quite a brutal way of treating these plants, but it does them no harm and in the spring, when the weather has warmed up they re-shoot from the cut stems or from the base of the clump. They will get a good soak and some fertiliser and they are good to go for another season.