Winter has arrived early in the UK this year. While it has been cold, up until today I had managed to avoid the snow. This morning however I woke up to a white world. The agave bracteosa and yucca 'bright star' are just managing to poke out of the snow.
The little domes are covering the echeverias which need more protection.
I am sure anyone form out side the UK will be saying "you call that snow!" but we vary rarely get more than this in London. As it is, there is total chaos here when it snows (have a quick look at any UK news at the moment to see what I mean) and it is not just the infrastructure that can not cope; for some reason many succulents really suffer with UK snow. Last year we had a two week period like this and it decimated plants that had never been touched before. Talking to others I discovered it was because of the snow we get in the UK. In a similar snow fall a few years back British Rail announced that they had to cancel all trains due to "the wrong type of snow". This caused much amusement (among those that did not have to travel) and much disgust (among those that did). But it seems it is true we really do have the wrong type of snow, it is very wet and tends to freeze, melt, re-freeze and it is this that does the damage.
So this year I am trying a new winter protection for my agaves and just covering them with fleece whenever snow is forecast. (You can see it in the photo).
I do not worry about the temperatures I get, most of the plants will shrug off -8C (my lows) without any problems at all. But it is snow in the crown that causes the problem and this is where the fleece comes in. As well as keep the snow off the plants I can go out remove the fleece and the area is clear so I will not get the melting and re-freezing problem. Once no more snow is forecast, the fleece will be put away until next time.
I am hoping that this will allow the agaves to get through even a bad winter without any problems. We shall see if it works.