January In The Garden - New beginnings

Hardy Cyclamen

Hardy Cyclamen. - Credit: Amanda Armstrong

By Amanda Armstrong

As I write this we’re experiencing an unusually mild spell of weather; no doubt this will change over the coming weeks as we move into January.  At this time of year, you may lack the enthusiasm to head outside but if you can, even for a short period, your garden can still surprise and delight you.

If you want to get warmed up on a cold winter’s day there’s no better way than digging over your borders or vegetable patch - as long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged. And with many of the leaves having fallen, it’s also the perfect time to take a closer look at fences and trellis to check for any necessary repairs.  

January is the time to view the bare bones of your plot.  Take a notebook outside with you.  Observe your garden and make a note of any gaps that you would like to fill or changes you would like to make.  Now is the time for planning.  

Imagine how you might like your plot to look in two, four or six months’ time. Do you need to think about buying and sowing seeds? Dividing plants you already have? Or even taking a trip to a nursery or garden centre for something new and exciting?  

Evergreens will provide you with structure but, in the depths of winter, there’s also the beauty from silhouettes of bare branches and the fascinating colours and textures of bark to enjoy. From the oranges and reds of the dogwoods, the silvers of ornamental brambles and birches or the yellows and greens of the willows, your garden need not be drab or boring.  

If your plot is small or you’re gardening in just a few pots, you can still have winter magic in the form of the diminutive hardy cyclamen.  Whether it’s for their marbled leaves or vibrantly coloured flowers, they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.

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You may even spot early snowdrops or golden yellow aconites - both a sign of hope and new beginnings, much needed by all of us.  

So don’t write January off.  Grab your scarf and gloves and take your coffee outside. It’s a quiet time to admire, to plan and to prepare before the hectic busyness of spring arrives and whisks you off your feet.

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