The garden in January

The garden in January

Gardening in January is for many people out of the question as it is cold and miserable and muddy and … not for us professionals ! As I have only a few hours every week to look after this small town garden I aim to be organised and start early in January. The weather has been mostly dry – meaning no prolonged rain, which allows for general maintenance tasks in the garden now.


This is how the garden looks now – remember the living wall ? Always attractive at anytime of year.

Living Wall
Remember to keep warm
Cut back grasses
Honeysuckle awakening
Clematis budding
Star jasmine in bloom

Despite snow covering the North and West of England at the moment the weather is dry and even sunny around London this morning, great to be out in the garden. But it is cold ! Rule no 1 when working outside: keep warm!


I wear my beloved muck boots – great for walking the dog as well – which keep my feet warm and cosy. With a windchill at freezing point I need also a warm hat and insulated gardening gloves.


This month my task has been clearing the flower beds from old foliage and leaves. I cut back the first grasses, usually the ones which start to get messy like Hakonechloa macra and Panicum virgatum. I cut back to at approx. 15 cm above ground level. The others are still standing strong like Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ which is one of my favourite grasses in the garden. It forms a wonderful golden focal point in the garden.


I like getting on with the mulching before the spring bulbs have grown too big – first snowdrops, then daffodils, later tulips. A few primulas are already emerging. Nothing more satisfying than the look of a newly mulched border !


What else is awakening into new life in this garden now? Lonicera henryi – a very vigorous honeysuckle which I have trained along a pergola. It will need taming all summer. Flower buds of Clematis armandii with its heavenly scent are ready to burst into action. Then there is this gorgeous evergreen Star Jasmin, Trachelospermum jasminoides, which has just burst into colour with its new shoots. Its flowering time is summer when millions of tiny star shaped sweetly scented flowers will emerge.


And of course the classic evergreen winter shrub Mahonia with its large, yellow flower heads.

Feeling good after a couple of hours work – looking forward to more mulching, pruning the Wisteria and moving a fern during February – weather permitting of course… followed by lawn care in March. There may be snow falling tonight even in the Southeast…hurrah!