January takes its name from Roman mythology. Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions and is usually depicted as having two faces since he looks to the future and to the past. Gardeners do the same at this time of year - look forward to the new gardening year, but also look back to see what worked and what didn’t in their garden planting and plans for the year just passed.
A January planting success story is the Hellebore - plant of the month in garden centres and nurseries around the UK and a firm favourite with some of our most well know and well loved gardeners. “Flowering Hellebores make you wonder at the beauty and resilience of nature as they open stunning flowers in the depth of winter” says TV gardener and urban horticulturalist David Domoney. “The diversity of the colour and blooms together with an integrated shaped emerald green foliage across many varieties make this a perfect first choice for the start of the calendar year.”
There are approximately 20 species of herbaceous, evergreen, perennial flowering Hellebore plants. The most popular hellebores for garden use are undoubtedly H. Orientalis and their colourful hybrids. They flower in early spring, around the period of Lent, and are often known as Lenten hellebores or Lenten roses and are excellent for bringing early colour to shady herbaceous borders and areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees. It’s best to plant Hellebores in heavy, rich, limey soil that won’t dry out in summer months. The leaves die down in June or July, after which the plants should be kept cool and shaded until they begin to grow again in early spring. Colour ranges include pure white - such as the traditional favourite Christmas Rose (H. Niger) - through to deep purple/black, all shades of pink, cream, primrose-yellow, and pinkish red.
On a more general note, your garden may need protecting from frosts, winds and heavy rain this month so check stakes, ties, fleeces and other supports for damage and consider moving plants to sunnier positions to maximise light. Don't forget to keep feeding the birds as well, food is scarce for them over winter.
Top 10 jobs this month from the Royal Horticulture Society
1. Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch
2. Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days
3. Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already
4. Repair and re-shape lawn edges
5. Inspect stored tubers of Dahlia, Begonia and Canna for rots or drying out
6. Prune apple and pear trees
7. Start forcing rhubarb
8. Plan your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season
9. Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds
10. Make sure all garden tools are sharpened and mowers serviced
National Garden Gift Vouchers can be bought and redeemed at over 2,000 outlets in the UK, with more than 90,000 garden plants and products on offer.
Visit www.thevouchergarden.co.uk to see the outlets that sell and accept them.
You can become a fan and buy vouchers on facebook www.facebook.com/GardenGiftVouchers
or follow on twitter @GardenGiftVouch or via the blog at http://www.vouchergardenblog.com/