One of the most welcome plants to brighten our January days is surely the humble Snowdrop (Galanthus species), be they in a clump hiding in a shady-spot or as a carpet naturalised in grass and under trees, such as these beauties at Colesbourne Gardens ; one of the best places to visit in the UK for the most delightful displays of different Galanthus species and cultivars.
Add in some colourful Cyclamen coum and Winter Aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) , and you can have these beautiful ground-cover displays colouring your January days !
Heavenly-Hellebores are possibly the must-have herbaceous, flowering plants for January, The hybrids of Helleborus orientalis come in numerous forms and beautiful colours, and a lovely way to display their nodding-heads is to float their flowers in a dish of water such as John Massey often does in his Private Garden at Ashwood Nurseries. A visit to John’s Garden and, indeed, to the Nurseries themselves, is a real treat at any time of the year, to see wonderful displays of seasonal plants to inspire and entice. Sadly, the seasonal Hellebore Tours are not available during 2021 due to Covid legislation.
As well as these glorious displays by the winter bulbs and Hellebores, colour can also be provided by shrubs and trees displaying vibrant tones in their stems and bark.
Coloured-stem Dogwoods, e.g. cultivars of Cornus sanguinea, bring fiery tones to the January Garden, such as these of ‘Midwinter Fire’ at Ashwoods Nurseries. I like to under-plant these shrubs with Snowdrops and dwarf Narcissi , just to enhance the beauty of both the shrubs’ stems and the bulbs’ flowers, for a colourful display during Winter and early Spring. Other colourful stems in January and throughout Winter can be provided by the coral-bark cultivars of Acer palmatum, such as ‘Winter Flame’, which has winter-stems of vibrant-coral preceded by fiery, orange and red tones of its autumn-foliage.
Blending in and complimenting the colourful stems of Cornus sanguinea , and also providing wonderful, winter-scent, are the Witch-Hazels (Hamamelis spp.). The Chinese Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis mollis) is crossed with the Japanese Witch-Hazel (H. japonica) to breed the many different cultivars of H. x intermedia, that are available with such stunning displays of flowers in shades of yellow, red and orange, releasing the most welcome warm, honey scent to enjoy too.
So, as you can see, January need not be dull in the Garden, indeed, I relish the Snowdrops, Cyclamens and Winter Aconites returning; like welcoming back old Friends. While the colourful stems of Cornus sanguinea and warm tones and scent of Witch-Hazels compliment each other wonderfully on a sunny, winter’s day.
Enjoy your Garden x.