Gunnera manicata. Photo by Tony Garn

Gunnera manicata

Coincidentally set out to resemble a group of tepees, the giant leaves of Gunnera manicata have been cut down. Left to stand, the winter winds would gust through the canopy and wreak havoc with the foliage. The established planting now resembles a ghost town, the green pigments having drained from the foliage almost immediately following cutting.

Depending on the weather, degradation follows and by late winter the fallacy that their job of protecting the crown from deep cold is over. Our plants have withstood temperatures down to -15°C through winters past. The need for protection is in spring just as the buds split open and the young foliage starts to expand. At this stage a late frost clipping the growth will cause burnt edges or dieback of the foliage.