Young plants should be supported with stakes or a temporary structure to filter the wind. Your windbreak will be vulnerable when first planted, but you can protect it with a fence of loosely woven hurdles which can be removed after a couple of years when the plants are firmly established.
On a smaller scale, tall tough plants can be used to protect smaller ones. Box edging around flowerbeds is good, as are step-over fruit trees. Taller plants or climbers can be trained against trellis or openwork screens to provide protection at the back of an exposed bed.
Winter winds tend to be more damaging, so in autumn make sure all your climbers are well tied into their supports. Also cut back any open-shaped shrubs which could be vulnerable. Roses and buddleja are typical of the shrubs that can get blown about and damaged. Cut away about a third of the total amount you would normally cut away in spring. This will protect the plant against the worst of the winter winds and you can finish pruning it at the usual time in spring. Lastly, mulch any bare soil. This protective layer will prevent water from evaporating and will also stop the soil being blown away. Garden compost, well-rotted manure or mushroom compost are all good; hay, straw or cocoa shells are too light and are liable to be blown away.
All the plants listed below have adaptations which mean they do not mind being subjected to constant wind and will act as protectors for your more delicate plants.
Deciduous shrubs or small trees with pendant clusters of pretty white flowers in spring. Fruits follow, which can be eaten when cooked, and the leaves then turn brilliant orange and red in autumn.
Buddleja globosa (Orange ball tree)
Semi-evergreen bushy shrub with orange ball-shaped flowers in summer.
Centranthus ruber (Red valerian)
Clump-forming perennial with clusters of tiny flowers from late spring right through summer. The fragrant flowers are white or shades of pink and crimson.
Eryngium (Sea holly)
Metallic-blue thistle-like perennial with spiny leaves and cone-shaped flowers in summer.
Evergreen shrub with small, glossy green leaves and an abundance of tiny pink, white or red flowers in summer.
Festuca glauca (Blue fescue)
Tufty, evergreen, perennial grass with striking blue leaves.
Lupinus arboreus (Tree lupin)
Bushy semi-evergreen shrub with palm-like grey-green leaves. In late spring and summer there are spires of fragrant pale yellow and occasionally blue flowers.
Molinia caerulea (Purple moor grass)
Tufty perennial grass with purple bases to the green leaves and purple spikelets at the top of the stems from spring to autumn.
Philadelphus (Mock orange)
Bushy deciduous shrub with very fragrant white flowers in summer. The cup-shaped flowers can be single or double and may be tinged with pink.
Many old or wild roses are tough enough to withstand strong winds. R. banksiae, R. glauca, R. pimpinellifolia, R. rugosa.
Evergreen shrub with fragrant greeny-grey foliage and little blue flowers in early summer.
Deciduous shrub or small tree with feathery foliage and plumes of pink flowers in late spring or summer, depending on the variety.