What is looking great in January

January might be a month of cold weather but there is no need for the garden to look dull and bare. Quite the opposite. Even before the spring bulbs appear, the structure of evergreens, winter flowering plants and stems and seed heads of last year’s plants can all combine to make your garden space look fantastic in January.

For winter structure and interest I love both Mahonia for it’s strong structure, glossy evergreen leaves and bright yellow fragrant flowers and Garrya elliptica with its grey-green foliage and silky tassels. (I grow mine against a fence but they can become tree-like if you don’t prune them.)

Deciduous shrubs and grasses can also add a contrast in texture or colour as their faded leaves or bare stems contrast in texture, form or colour with other plants such as the redd-ish stems of this Spiraea ‘Goldflame’ in front of a topiary Yew (centre), or the Miscanthus grass against the mounded form of the silvery evergreen Santolina chamaecyparissus and faded stems and flower heads of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (left).

One of my favourites for winter colour is Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire. which seems to glow, even from a good distance away.

Other perennials will have faded, but some may still have standing stems. These look great, adding some structure as well as allowing insects to shelter in their hollow stems. Collapsed foliage and fallen leaves can be removed if they cover emerging spring flowering plants or evergreen groundcover plants, otherwise leave both stems and leaves on the ground to create shelter and food for wildlife.  It is very tempting to want to clear these away but try to leave them until at least March when the weather starts to turn warmer and the little creatures need less shelter from the harshest of the weather.


Related Posts