Time for a plan

Date:

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

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