27 December 2017 by Dr Jane Bingham
Garden Plants to Enjoy in January:
Evergreens, especially those with colourful or variegated leaves, provide valuable interest in an otherwise bare winter garden. Good examples are: Photinia, Euonymus, Holly, Pieris, Leucothoe or blue, golden or bronze conifers.
• Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a climbing plant with dainty yellow, star-shaped flowers.
• Winter-flowering heathers provide a low-growing tapestry of colour. They also look fantastic in pots.
• Beautiful Hellebores, such as H. orientalis (Lenten rose) varieties with flowers in white, green, pink, smokey purple and dark red.
• Winter-flowering pansies provide colour for months in the winter garden. They are ideal for pots and beds.
• Snowdrops are usually the first flowers to open in the new year.
• Winter aconites have lovely golden flowers and are suited to growing beneath deciduous trees and shrubs. They prefer rich, moist soil.
• Cyclamen have flowers in red, pink and white shades and look fantastic in pots or planted under trees.
Shrubs that have fragrant flowers in the depths of winter such as:
• Witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia)
• Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ or V. tinus
• Sweet box (Sarcococca confusa or S. hookeriana)
• For impact choose exotic-looking Mahonia x media with its sunshine yellow flower spikes throughout winter.
Plants with beautiful berries, like Skimmia, Gaultheria, Pyracantha or Cotoneaster.
Shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) with their brightly coloured young stems are invaluable for winter colour (cut back hard annually in early spring for best results):
• C. sericea ‘Cardinal’ and C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ with stunning orange-red stems.
• Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ and C. alba ‘Baton Rouge’ with bright red stems
• C. sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and C. sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow’ with yellow stems
Trees with eye-catching bark:
• Acer griseum (Paperbark maple) with its peeling cinnamon-coloured bark
• Betula utilis var. jaquemontii has pure white bark that gleams in the winter sunshine
• Prunus serrula (Tibetan cherry) has glossy coppery bark with corky bands
• Prune Wisteria, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
• Prune Rose bushes now whilst they are dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.
• Cut back the old foliage from non-evergreen, ornamental grasses before growth begins – clip them to within a few inches of the ground.
• Remove old Hellebore leaves to show off the flowers.
• Plant Amaryllis bulbs in pots now for stunning indoor blooms in early spring.
• Plan the vegetable plot for the coming season, include crop rotation for best results.
• Tidy sheds and wash pots, trays, labels, etc ready for spring.
• Clean moss and algae from slippery paths, treat wooden decking and furniture with preservative.