Get your garden into shape
Get your garden into shape and looking snazzy for the new year. There’s a lot to look forward to and a huge selection of flowers and edibles to be planted now. A little maintenance goes a long way in neatening up your garden’s appearance, so be sure to check out our handy hacks.
Sow a salad
What better way to get your garden and health back on track then by sowing nutritious leafy greens for those summer salads. The following edibles can be sown now:
- Spinach and Swiss Chard
- Beetroot (baby leaves are delish)
Top tip: Leafy greens are very easy to grow and will reward gardeners best if you pick the leaves regularly and pinch out flower buds later in the season. Be on the lookout for cutworm, snail and slug damage to plants.
Plant a paradise
January is always a good time to plant up areas with colourful annual seedlings. The heat is on so brighten up beds by planting these sun-worshippers.
- Salvias flower throughout summer and autumn. Their upward-pointing sword-like blooms range from fire engine red to purple, deep blue and other powdery colour variations. They are waterwise and easy to grow in pots too.
- Snapdragons offer striking colours and multiple blooms that stand to attention and are simply charming. Dwarf varieties are great as pot or hanging basket fillers. Keep plants moist while young and they’ll reward you by continuing to flower into winter.
- Petunias don’t need special treatment or a lot of water either. Flowering increases as they grow, putting on a spectacular show of colour when mature. Petunias love the mild winter months too and will carry on growing in this time.
Indoor peace parade
- The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallesii) can grow in low-light conditions, which effectively means that it can thrive almost anywhere in the home. It has large, glossy green leaves, is very forgiving when not pampered, and has large, flag-like white blooms that brighten any room with an air of sophistication.
- The peace in the home plant (Soleirolia) requires bright light and regular watering. They can be combined with other plants in a mixed bowl, will be happy in a terrarium, or simply simply thrive in a pot on their own.
Be on the lookout for yellow patches appearing suddenly on your lawn from early January. This is a sure sign of the night-time foraging lawn caterpillar (also known as army worm). To be sure, place a moist bag or cloth on the patch in the evening and check underneath in the morning. If it is caused by army worms, they would be crawling under the cloth thinking it is still night. Ask your local GCA Garden Centre for the correct treatment method.
Power up plants
A good option is a 8:1:5 fertiliser or if you prefer the organic alternative, they are both available. Your garden and pots will benefit tremendously from a January booster. Remember to fertilise between the plants on moist soil and to water over the fertiliser afterwards.
Pruning and rose care
- A light summer pruning is recommended for roses in January. We know that it feels difficult to prune a plant that may still be flowering but it will help to extend quality flowering into winter. Cut back stems by up to one-third of their length.
- Continue using a cocktail rose spray i.e. a combination of a fungicide and insecticide every two weeks to avoid leaf drop. Fertilise monthly and add mulch or top up the existing mulch. Now all that is left to do is to continue deep watering and enjoy your blooming success over the coming months.
Give your Fuchsias a facelift by cutting back the stem tips after flowering. By cutting the stems back up to 5 or 10cm from the tip, you will allow it to bush out and give the plant more vigour to see the season through.
Inland gardening maintenance
- Mulch to beat the heat, to save water, and to give the plants a cooler root run. A good, thick layer around the plants will do wonders for them.
- Keep a lookout for fungus diseases encouraged by several rainy days in a row. Take samples of leaves from any affected plants (in a zip-lock bag) to your local GCA Garden Centre and get a remedy to spray with.
- The rainy season is upon us. Try to harvest as much rainwater as possible and even consider joining a pipe from a roof gutter outlet into the pool when it requires a top-up.
Coastal gardening maintenance
- Plant more chives, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, and coriander. Remember to plant your first crop of potato seeds for an early winter harvest.
- Remove or prune back low branches of trees if more sunlight is required for lawn or bedding plants below trees.
Splurge on your beloved garden a little this January and help get it back into shape. Garden centres are stocked with amazing succulents and seasonal gems for you to sneak home. Have a flower-filled summer and show-stopping start to your year. Life is a Garden, so dig in and indulge!