Your Country Garden this January

by Andy Cawthray, 17th December 2019

Keep your plants safe from the worst of the weather so they thrive in spring

January might seem like a dormant month in the gardening calendar, but while our beds and borders look asleep, they’re simply waiting for the weather to turn so they can (quite literally!) spring into life.

As gardeners we, too, should be getting ourselves ready – and at this time of year, ensuring your plants and trees are safe and sheltered from the worst of the winter weather is vital to avoid losing any to frosts, snow or severe winds.

When the weather permits, be sure to check the winter protection of your plants is still working as it should. Check that any stakes for tall plants and young trees are holding firm.

Don’t rely on just your eyes either – grasp the stake with your hand and make sure it doesn’t move or wiggle. Wet ground combined with high winds can soon work a stake loose and very quickly lay waste to your carefully nurtured apple tree, says a voice of experience! Work through any plants that are tied up against walls or frames, too.

Again, don’t rely on how they look, get in among the plants, checking and replacing the ties as required. I once forgot to check my 30-yearold wisteria was sufficiently secured against a wall and found it one morning a tangled mess strewn over a flower bed. I think it probably put the plant back a good five years in terms of growth so I consider my lesson learned!


Tip of the Month

To make new hellebore blooms more visible as they emerge this spring, remove the old leaves now


Ask Andy

Q: I have a pond in my garden and one side of it is quite moist and boggy. What wild flowers would you suggest I grow there?

A: Moisture-loving plants can be quite vigorous so it’s important to select the plants that are best suited to the space you have. Ones to consider are bistort (Persicaria bistorta), the common valerian (Valeriana officinalis), devil’s bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), and marsh cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris). For a bit of early spring colour though, some snake’s head fritillary bulbs will also do well in moist conditions.


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