The Year Ahead In The People’s Friend Garden

Another year done – 2016 seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye! January is a lovely quiet time of year, as we all recover from the New Year festivities. It’s a great time for reflection and planning.

Good gardening is about always being a step ahead, and January really is the time to prepare for the year to come, so let’s see what we have to look forward to in the garden this year.

The not so bleak mid-winter

On a cold, crisp winter day there’s nothing more satisfying than looking out from your cosy home into a breath-taking garden full of life! There are so many shrubs and trees that are at their best at this time of year. Often gardeners focus so much attention on the summer months that they don’t take time to enjoy their garden in winter.

You can achieve a really stunning effect from a Corkscrew Hazel, an interesting twisted focal plant soon to be laden with weeping yellow catkins that will last until the spring.

One of our absolute favourites is the aptly named Wintersweet, or Chimonanthus Praecox. The leafless branches are covered with dainty pendant yellow flowers, which have a powerful spicy fragrance that can be smelled for miles.

To get a really good showing they need to be positioned in full sun throughout the summer, but this is also when they are at their least beautiful and it can be tempting to hide them away. Try growing a clematis or honeysuckle through it to give you coverage through to the summer season.

The first signs of spring


There have been some incredible last minute deals on spring and summer bulbs, and these can still be planted up in the first two or three weeks in January.

With a little warmth in the air and February in sight you’ll soon be spotting abundant Snowdrops and cheerful yellow Winter Aconites. When the vivid purple, pink and white Crocus start to pop up you know that winter is losing its hold, and it won’t be long until the Daffodils start to appear. Plant early flowering varieties such as Tête-á-Tête, Barret Browning, and February Gold, or our top pick, the two-toned Topolino, creamy white with a bright yellow trumpet.


Hot off the press! Summer is coming…

We may not have had the worst of the cold weather yet but post-Christmas is the ideal time to settle down with a few gardening catalogues and plan for summer. You’ll find lots arriving in mid-January, packed with lively summer plants, including a huge range of plug plants. These aren’t delivered for a few months yet, but are well worth considering as they disappear fast and, if you don’t pre-order, you might miss out on your favourites.

Although January is a less busy time in the garden, it’s a good idea to get yourself prepared for the spring before the worst of the winter weather hits. Keeping the garden tidy and free from fallen leaves now will stop you from having to deal with a wet and mushy mess later!


Our gardening collection can be found at the DC Thomson Shop.


Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.