Dealing with frost in the garden

Gardening expert Helen Yemm has been dispensing winter gardening advice to readers of the Daily Telegraph.

The topic of the advice is how to tell when plants are about to be attacked by frost and how best to deal with the problem when it occurs.

An ingenious way of predicting frosty weather is to keep a euphorbia plant, which will wilt at the first sign of temperatures dropping below zero and recover quickly when the weather warms up again.

Acting as natures thermometer, the "shrubby euphorbia" can be a useful sign that its time to protect more valuable plants by moving them into the greenhouse.

Gardeners should be wary of cutting back "tender climbers" such as passion flowers and "shrubby plants from warmer climates" like fuchsias, ceratostigmas and artemisias, advises Ms Yemm.

The Royal Horticultural Society says that gardeners can avoid frost damage by choosing where they plant carefully to avoid "frost pockets".

It suggests covering plants with a double layer of horticultural fleece when frosts are forecast.