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January in my garden

Happy New Year! Although admittedly, it does feel strange to write that when we’re two thirds of the way through the month already. Anyway, after a much needed festive break, it’s time to take stock and have a look at January in my garden once again.

What's flowering now?

Not much at this time of year, the garden is in its resting phase. Most plants are conserving energy and concentrating on their roots, ready to put on a burst of colour and fragrance in spring. It’s actually one of my favourite months (even though I say that every month) because I can see the shape and layout of my garden more clearly. Where there are gaps, and what might complement existing shrubs.

But there are a few splashes of brightness, like the lovely vibrant cyclamens (cover pic) nestled among the wild strawberries under our weeping pear tree. They seem to thrive on a woodland floor environment.

And my collection of hellebores are starting to open up. I’ve cut back the old leaves around their bases to get rid of any fungal spores that can infect the new growth. They’ll be glorious in a few weeks’ time, if last year is anything to go by.

I’m so pleased to see a few snowdrops under the weeping birch in our orchard, a sign that the longer days are coming. They’re supposed to be easy to grow but that’s not been my experience over the years. They seem to be happy here though so I’ll buy a few more clumps “in the green” to add to them. (In the green simply means planting with all their green foliage intact once flowering is over, to get established faster than tiny bulbs).

I mentioned last January that one of my garden pleasures was relaxing on the bench next to our fragrant Daphne odora on a sunny morning. I’m looking forward to doing so again just as soon as it warms up a few more degrees, brrr. The contrast between the delicate pale pink of the flowers and the glossy dark green of the leaves looks stunning, don’t you think?

What's sprouting now?

Surprisingly, given how early in the growing season we are, quite a lot. Various bulbs have started poking their leaves through the grass and weeds on top of my pots (clearly I need to do some weeding and re-composting shortly).

There’s also a lot of new growth coming on some perennials, so I’ve cut the old brown foliage away to give them light and air. And I’m absolutely thrilled to see I have three new roses that are growing from some cuttings I took and stuck in a flower bed after pruning last September. This was a tip from Gardeners World but I didn’t really expect anything, I’d even forgotten I’d done it. But look (very closely!) at those green sticks at the front of the photo. Fingers crossed, come early summer I might have three new FREE rose bushes, which will be clones of my favourite climbing fragrant Madame Carriere 🙂

And the sunflower seed heads I’d left out for the birds last September have started sprouting! As it’s far too early for tender little seedlings to survive the frosts outside, I’ve stuck one of the heads into an old compost bag in the greenhouse. I’m very curious to see what will happen.

Jobs for January

We’re excitedly waiting for the delivery of a new silver birch this week. I’ve always loved these deciduous, elegant, graceful trees. When the one in my childhood garden had to be felled, we even kept the top eight foot to use as our Christmas tree each year. I haven’t decided exactly where it’s going but why let such practical considerations get in the way of a new garden purchase?

Pruning jobs include our honeysuckles, lavender, and late summer flowering purple climbing Viticella clematis. The latter needs cutting back hard to about 30cm above ground level otherwise you end up with a few buds on the very top of old brown stems instead of new lush green growth. And I’ve asked Alan to put up some wires behind a climbing rose, so I can train her in as she grows back this spring/summer. It goes without saying, we’ll be keeping our bird feeders (cages, tables, and fir cones) topped up this month, as well as ensuring our ponds don’t ice over. Wildlife needs all the help we can offer during the winter.

Flora's garden

Flora’s garden is looking a little quiet now. We’ve planted two bare root raspberry bushes and the broad bean seeds and garlic cloves from her last Mud and Bloom box. I don’t imagine they’ll start growing until the weather warms up though. She still hasn’t decided what she wants to do with the bare patch behind the pond but Gardeners World starts again on 8th March, so I expect Monty Don will give her a few ideas.

January in my garden

Well, this is what January in my garden looks like. Enough to admire and enjoy but with plenty of jobs to do and spaces to fill with new plants this year. Time to settle down with my favourite catalogues and a very large glass of wine, I think. And just a reminder, if you haven’t put your Christmas tree for Council recycling yet, why not see if you have goat farmers near you? Goats will eat everything, needles, bark, branches, the lot. So much more satisfying than putting it out for shredding (remember THAT episode of Friends, the one where Joey had a chipping job, much to Phoebe’s horror?!) What jobs have you been doing / will you be doing in your green space this month?

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