Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The Garden in January

January Garden

Think that there is nothing to do and that the garden looks boring at this time of year? Then think again! However harsh the weather, there are plants to enjoy and plenty of jobs to be getting on with.


Galanthus (Snowdrop)
A vigorous perrenial bulb, it bears nodding, honey scented white flowers with green markings on the inner petal. Ideally site is woodland garden, beneath trees and shrubs. Grows in dappled shade in any fertile garden, lift and divide the bulbs when congested.

January at a glance;

  • Keep on top of winter germinating weeds

  • Clear crowns of plants of damp leaves

  • Cotinue with winter digging

  • Check newly planted trees and shrubs and refirm if lifter by frost

  • Protect plants vunerable to wind and cold

  • Prune trees and shrubs to shape

  • Take root cuttings from perennials

  • Aereate lawns to improve drainage

  • Prune grape vines before sap starts to rise
Planning Ahead:
If the weather is just too cold and wet to venture outside, then there is plenty to be getting on with indoors. Its a good month for planning the rest of the gardening year. Not only is the planting a hugely important element of the garden but you may wish to start planning some hard landscaping features. Pergolas, decked areas, patios, woodland walks whatever your imagination desires. Now is the time to start planning and if you are unable to carry out the hard landscaping yourself then now is the time to make enquiries with some reputable companies, as the good ones get fully booked for the summer months really quickly. Note: The cheapest quote you get for any work is not always the best.

The Garden In December

December Garden

Any sunshine there is in December will be weak, but sunny days can be quite pleasant, and if you wrap up well, you can have a good day in the garden, digging or catching up with other clearing jobs.


Mahonia x media 'Charity'
An upright, bushy evergren shrub. Autumn to early spring, it bears long spikes of fragrant deep yellow flowers. It is ideal in a shrub border, woodland garden or as a specimen. Suits moist but well drained soil conditions.

December at a glance;

  • Prune woody ornamental plants and fruit trees and bushes, and shred the prunings if possible
  • Continue winter digging incorporating organic matter into the soil
  • Spray fruit trees and also roses
  • Prune ornamental vines and grape vines
  • Sow alpine seeds
  • Repair lawns in weather allows
  • Lift and heel in celery for winter supplies
  • Take care of pot plants to get the best from their winter display

The winter scene:

It is not a completley bleakmonth for colour in the garden. Plants like winter flowering heathers and jasminmum nudiflorum should be in flower throughout the month. Hamamelis mollis and iris unguicularis are others which can be relied upon to cheer up December. There should still be berries on trees and shrubs if the birds havent eaten them. Winter pruning of fruit trees is a satisfying job to be undertaken now. And its a good time to do any major pruning of ornamental deciduous trees and shrubs, not only because the plants are now dormant, but also with the leaves now off the plants its much easier to see what you are doing.

Plants for winter display:

Garden centres are now packed with winter flowering pot plants, and there is still a wide variety to choose from. In very cold weather make sure the plants are properly wrapped when you buy them. A good selection includes azaleas, poinsettias, winter cyclamen and solanum capsicastrum (winter cherry)

The Garden In November

November Garden

November can be damp, raw month. Flowers may be scarce in the garden but there are many berries, evergreen foliage and trees with decorative bark to add interest on the dullest days.


Clematis 'Golden Tiara'

Produces open lantern-flowers in bright golden yellow. Vigorous deciduous climber. Ideal site on walls and fences of any aspect or climbing through deciduous trees. Prune to 30cms from ground in spring

November at a glance;

  • Tidy the garden for winter

  • Clear out bird boxes and put out food for birds

  • Press on with winter digging

  • Plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs and new roses

  • Protect newly planted shrubs from frost and wind

  • Plant tulips

  • Protect alipnes from winter rain

  • Keep off the lawn in frosty weather

  • Plant fruit trees and bushes

  • Lift and divide any rhubarb

  • Winter prune fruit trees and bushes

Routine Tasks:

Planting & Transplanting;

November is a good time to plant new trees, shrubs and roses. And if you have been walking round the garden with a notebook in hand earlier in the year, making note of any changes to be made, then this is a good month to move plants because there is still some warmth left in the soil from summer. Larger plants are best moved first, with as much soil around the root as possible. And if they are large trees or shrubs, remember to stake tehm in again if your garden is in an exposed place. Water plants well after them and mulch with a thick layer of organic matter.

Stars among the sleepers;

This is the month when most plants become dormant and everything as far as plant growth goes shuts down for the winter; but there are some plants which begin to flower around now and carry their blooms throughout the winter months. Viburnum x bodnantense will produce exquisite pink flowers from as early as october right through the season. The flowers borne on this shrub are slao sweetly scented, and will fill the air around them with fragrance even on the coldest days. Another star is the winter flowering autumn cherry Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' produces its white blossom throughout the winter.