Take thyme to enjoy your winter garden by Catherine the Garden Lady
This is usually the coldest time of year and some of us do not like to work outside in the cold weather to partake in winter gardening. However, now is a wonderful time to enjoy your winter garden.
While these are the darkest days of the year, you can take comfort in the fact that spring is just around the corner. This is a good time to prune overgrown, neglected or congested shrubs and climbers. Remove any old wood and cut them back quite hard. Also open the middles of the shrubs to let air through. Another more cautious approach is to cut back only half to a third of the stems. If they recover well, cut back the remainder the same time next year.
What to do now
Clematis plants (group 3), which flower from summertime onwards, need to be pruned quite hard now – shorten all stems to about 6-12 inches off the ground.
Taking root cuttings is an excellent way of increasing stocks of various hardy perennials; the best time to do this is when the plants are fully dormant. Dig up the established plants, wash the roots free of soil and cut off the thicker healthy roots close to the crown. Replant the parent plant and pot the root cuttings in 5 inch pots.
If you have a kitchen garden, then this is an excellent time to improve the ground. Add lime to any vegetable plots as this can increase the yield of your vegetables. You can also force any established rhubarb plants to gain early stems.
January is an ideal time to clean your greenhouse, if you haven’t already done so. On a mild day, use disinfectant to scrub down the greenhouse structure, benches and paths and don’t forget to wash all your pots.
Also cut back any dead growth on perennials at this time of year, in order to allow new growth to develop and remember to keep off the soil if the ground is frozen or waterlogged.
Plants to enjoy this month:
Shrubs – Daphne mezereum, Garrya elliptica, Holly, Mahonia, Viburnum, Climber plants, Winter jasmine and perennials – Helleborus niger and Iris reticulata.
Take thyme to enjoy your winter garden – Written by Catherine Williams, The Garden Lady