News From The Plant Team: January 2020
Happy New Gardening Year!
30 December 2019 by Dr Jane Bingham
January is the start of a new gardening year. The days are getting longer and the garden begins to wake up. There are jobs to be getting on with and plenty of plants to enjoy even in the coldest, darkest months. Pay us a visit and choose some new plants to brighten up your winter garden.
- 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 Helleborus 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.
Flowers with Fragrance: to enjoy their sweet scent, plant these shrubs close to the front door or path edges:
- 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.
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.
Shrubs with Colourful berries
Skimmia, Gaultheria, Pyracantha or Cotoneaster.
Dogwoods with Colourful Young Stems
Shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) with their brightly coloured young stems are invaluable for winter colour (cut back hard annually in early spring for best results):
- Cornus alba ‘Baton Rouge’ and C. alba ‘Elegantissima’ with bright red stems.
- C. sericea ‘Cardinal’ and C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ with stunning orange-red stems.
- C. sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and C. sericea ‘Bud’s Yellow’ with yellow stems.
Trees with eye-catching 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.
- Acer griseum (Paperbark maple) with its peeling cinnamon-coloured bark.
- Prune Rose bushes now whilst they are dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.
- Prune Wisteria, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
- 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.
- 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.
- When temperatures plummet, stay cosy indoors, browse through seed catalogues and dream of the growing season to come.