January in The Garden
Biting frosts and misty days, January to some seems bleak but the soft watery light allows us to experience the garden and wider landscape in a way no other month offers, so wrap up warm and enjoy!
Flowers & Cutting Garden
Fans of leaving winter structure in the form of the woody growth of herbaceous perennials will now see that faded seedbeds and stems have seen their best. Warmer days offer a great chance to get out and cut back. Whilst in the border weed out any perennial or overwintered weeds. Deadheading viola and winter annuals will give them a second flush and a general good tidy will see the garden transformed.
Gardeners late to the sweet pea party can still sow now, you will get better plants and flowers the sooner you sow and they are half hardy so a cold greenhouse or cold frame will suffice. Other annuals to sow now include Cleome, a tall growing annual, ideal for cut flowers and the climber Cobaea, the cup and saucer vine, along with easy favourites such as Cerinthe, English Marigold and Nigella. Hardy’s Cottage Garden plants do an amazing Nigella mix which gives you the deep purple damascena type along with the traditional porcelain blue.
If you are in a tidying mood check over any stored late season flowering tubers such as Dahlia and plant out forced bulbs which have gone over, these will come back next year at the right season so no need to discard or compost.
For those with well planned borders there is now on offer winter box, winter honeysuckle both richly fragrant and a wonderful variety of stems to bring indoors, Salix ‘Nancy Saunders’ with its deep coral pink stems and twisted hazel are amongst my favourites. Don’t forget this month we will see the first signs of Spring to come with the Winter Aconite and later the Snowdrop!
Vegetables & Home Grown
Warm evenings buy the wood burner or just curled up in a comfy chair can now be spent planning the vegetables for the coming year. Crop rotation is really important, even you only have two small beds be sure not to plant the same type of vegetable in the same place or you will deplete nutrients from the soil. At Allomorphic we stock Franchi seeds and I know I will be choosing from the range there my spring and summer sowings.
This month you can sow, leeks, spring onions and broad -beans undercover and place cloches out on vegetable beds to warm the soil to sow early out doors.
Don't for get to pick yellowing or diseased leaves from brassicas to keep them healthy.
Eranthus Er-Srping Anthos-Flower
The innocent winter aconite the first flower of spring has a more sinister side. From its common name Winter Aconite this little yellow flower finds its origin in Greek and Roman mythology. According to the myth, Medea attempted to murder Theseus by tainting his wine with the poisonous saliva of Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guarded the underworld.
Hercules dragged Cerberus out from the underworld, and the light of day upset Cerberus. While barking his protest, his poison saliva fell on the path around him. The saliva hardened into stones in the soil, and from those stones, Winter Aconite grew. The Greeks called the flowers aconite, from the word 'akone' meaning ‘whetstone’ and it is true Eranthis is in fact a very poisonous, yet beautiful plant.