Happy New Year! If you can't wait for the spring to add some interest to your garden, there are plenty of options for winter colour. January and February flowering shrubs such Daphne can bring some cheer, with flowers to enjoy from now until early spring. The Daphne flower has shades from the palest pink to purple, and as an added bonus, they are sweet scented.
Witch Hazel is a deciduous shrub, which flowers until early spring. A slightly acid soil is required and it doesn’t like being moved, so choose its position carefully. Winter honeysuckle has clusters of lightly scented white flowers from now until March. Growing to about 6ft by 6ft, it works well mid-border, or have it near your back door to enjoy the fragrance when you step outside. After planting, make sure you firm in any shrubs with your heel. This helps stop them being loosened by frosts or rocked by strong winds.
Jobs for January include checking your garden paths aren’t slippery from moss. Clear away any weeds or debris and work off those mince pies by giving paths a good sweep. You can prune deciduous hedges and climbers if they need it. Give your fruit trees a prune before the buds show signs of growth. Remove dead or weak looking branches from apple and pear trees, aiming to give the tree a good, strong shape with well-spaced branches.
January often brings the coldest days of the year so ensure your tender perennials have some protection from the extremes. Tuck them up overnight with horticultural fleece from the garden centre, which lets them get air and rainwater. Move containers to a protected spot in the garden and check they have good drainage. Remember to have an unfrozen water source to help birds and other wildlife through the coldest months.
Until next month, happy gardening!