January – The tinsel’s gone, the lights are back in the box and we’re all feeling a little bit fatter!

There’s a real danger at this time of year to wish time away. To urge spring to burst into life and leave the cold winter behind. Don’t do it!

A friend of ours, a keen gardener, once told us that winter is his absolute favourite time of year in the garden. The land isn’t bleak, it’s waiting. Life is hovering just beneath the surface, biding its time, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge.

So while you’re waiting for the spring shoots to show, now’s a great time to make plans, because as soon as the weather warms up you won’t have time to do much at all!

As you may remember Andy and I are on a mission this year – a mission to learn new things and brighten up our garden. So after doing all our usual veg growing jobs for January on the smallholding, we’ve turned our attention to the garden. We love colour outdoors and decided we didn’t want winter to be boring.

We all know spring, summer and autumn have their own incredible bursts of colour. Spring snowdrops and daffodils give way to summer flowers and fruits, followed by the golden hue of autumn leaves. But what about winter?

With a little bit of research and some garden centre vouchers we got for Christmas (thanks Nan) we set off to brighten up the garden.

Winter flowers make your garden beautiful all year round. Intersperse winter flowering plants into your borders and pots to give you year round colour. A great way to build up your knowledge of what is in flower at what time is to visit your local garden centre or nursery at different times of the year.

Staff are usually friendly and will be full of advice – plus if they have outdoor sections you can see the plants flowering for yourself at their preferred time of year.

Recently we did just that – after deciding we needed some colour in the garden – we headed to a garden centre. After a few minutes wandering around we found some heathers that were in flower – perfect. In addition to the flowers we also discovered a few evergreen plants that had vibrant yellow and green leaves.

The other great thing about buying plants from a nursery is that the staff can give you advice on the care and maintenance of your purchases. For example heathers need to be potted in ericaceous (acidic) soil.

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So we got home, potted up and boom! Instant colour! The pots sit just outside the front door welcoming visitors in from the cold.

The advantage of putting these particular plants in pots is that they can be moved around the garden during different times of the year. When all the summer flowers are in bloom these pots can be moved to a different area of the garden. Both the evergreens and heathers are hardy (meaning they should be fine outside all year round) so they can be put almost anywhere.

The other way we’ve found to brighten up our garden in winter is with outside lights! Perfect for illuminating the new pots but also great for lighting the way on nights when the fire-pit is lit and we’re enjoying a few drinks in the moonlight.

This month we’ve learnt that when it comes to gardening in winter just a few simple, carefully chosen plants can make your garden look cared for and vibrant. We’re spending the rest of the month clearing leaves and tidying the garden in preparation for our busiest year ever. Good luck with yours – and get in touch if you fancy a chat. We’re at @andyandadams on Twitter or search ‘Andy and Adam’s’ on Facebook.

 

Happy Planting!

 

by Adam Willcox