—’The beginning is the most important part of the work’
January can be a bleak month but particularly after the last couple of years, everything seems to be rather jaded.
It is the quietest month in the garden for show, but lots can be done to plan and prep for a glorious growing year to brighten our mood!
Tidying and trimming is essential to encouraging new growth and allowing first shoots to push through. Prune roses and wisteria back to a couple of buds to promote healthy new stems. Empty your compost bins and dig into the soil to enrich it ready for spring planting. Hellebores are resplendent now and bloom from late winter to early spring. Delicate and intriguing they come in a range of colours with beautiful green foliage. Perfect for filling the landscape after you have cleared the beds and borders. Snowdrops figure in Art and Literature as a symbol of Spring and hope and are a welcome sight after the darkness of winter. The dainty white heads start appearing from January. Look for the beautiful double headed ‘Double Ellen Picotee’ or ‘Single Slaty Blue’ for some faded glamour.
What can we be planning and planting now to ensure some summer colour? For impact and rainbow shades you can’t go wrong with Dahlia’s . Some colourful and stunning choices of Dahlia are Black Narcissus , a dark enigmatic flower and Café Au Lait, a pastel peach perfect for displays. Plant in a cold frame or greenhouse and keep moist until after any chance of frost in late spring. Sweet Pea seeds can also be planted in trays or pots and kept sheltered undercover along with Antirrhinums and Dianthus (Snapdragons and Carnations in layman’s terms) for a myriad of pinks, reds, yellows and oranges.
Lastly, to bring colour and cheer inside there are wealth of indoor bulbs that can be bought pre-potted in many shops if you are still feeling the winter lethargy! Hyacinths and Narcissus bring colour and scent to your room, Miniature Irises are like purple jewels on the windowsill and a single Amaryllis can brighten up a corner with it’s beautiful and structural trumpets of red, pink or white. Perfect inspiration while browsing seed and bulb catalogues and planning your summer garden!