Time for a plan


There’s still work to be done in the winter, and gardener Pete Harcom suggests having an eye to the climate as you plan this year’s garden

Experts are predicting that a changing temperature cycle in the oceans will make 2024 the world’s hottest year.
With that in mind, it might be an idea to consider creating a low-maintenance garden that looks good in the heat, thrives on very little water and still provides habitat for our wildlife. Here are a few ideas for plants that are drought tolerant:

  • Eryngium (amethyst sea holly) – this is a striking plant which is native to the Mediterranean. Most species are perennials, and they have showy, attractive thistle-like flower heads surrounded by spiny silvery-blue bracts.
    These sun-loving plants will attract plenty of butterflies and bees to your garden.
  • Lavender – this cottage garden favourite thrives in hot, dry conditions. It is heavily scented and loved by insects.
  • Verbena bonariensis (lollipop is a smaller-growing variety).
  • Cistus x pulverulentus sunset. (rock rose) – a low growing shrub which thrives in poor dry soils.
  • Pennisetum (fountain grass) – very low maintenance and it has striking seed heads.
  • Yucca filamentosa bright edge – a structural plant, some hybrids can be large, but other varieties can also be used as container plants.
  • Osteospermum (African daisies) – these have very showy flowers and are easy to grow.
  • Sedum ‘Sunsparkler’ – this is great in rockeries and very easy to grow once established.
  • Hibiscus flower tower ruby – be aware these can grow to 3m! But they’ll have masses of flowers once established.
  • Rosemary (salvia rosmarinus) – another Mediterranean favourite, the evergreen shrub has aromatic leaves and small blue, pink or white flowers.

This month’s jobs:
It might be grey and damp out but even in January there are still plenty of jobs to do in the garden this month:

  • Clean up your pots, tools and greenhouse in preparation for spring.
  • Now is the time to order seeds and plants – from the comfort of your armchair!
  • Continue looking after the wildlife — put out wild bird food, and leave some areas of your garden uncut for shelter until the spring.
  • If your honeysuckle is very overgrown, now is the best time to cut it back hard to encourage healthy, new growth this spring.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses – clip back the old foliage before new growth begins, to within a few centimetres of the ground.
  • Check your climbers are securely attached to their supports with ties.
  • Shred your Christmas tree and add it to your compost bins. The stripped down branches also make great pea sticks.
  • Remove slimy patches from patios and paving by scrubbing with a broom or a blast with a pressure washer.
  • Plant some amaryllis bulbs indoors now for spectacular spring flowers.

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

More like this

Charlotte’s A to Z of gardening

Gardening has its own large vocabulary, and when you...

Where young minds grow

There is an air of new season excitement...

Will you mow in May?

One of the easiest and best ways to encourage...

The April diary | The Voice of the Allotment

Despite the wet ground, there’s been a lot to...