With the arrival of every new year, there’s a certain expectation of new starts, new beginnings, new resolutions. But for me January is always much more about a continuation of the journey through the darkest season. Throughout Christmas and into the new year, my indoor plants have been putting on quite a show.
A pink hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulb has really out done itself and sent up a first flower stem with four ginormous gramophone-horn-like blooms and now a second set of trumpets are bursting into bloom. My fuchsia pink polka-dot Phalenopsis has also decided to pop all of its buds and flower its socks off.
Outside, so far this winter feels like a soggy extended autumn, with a few clusters of frosty, snowy and icy days here and there, but overall mostly wet and relatively mild.
In the front garden a first few snowdrops are already up, and the hellebores are making tentative steps towards full emergence and blooming.
More and more, I try to make the most of the milder days and there’s quite a lot I can be pootling along with under glass.
My arch enemies at this time of year are white vine weevil larva. Lots of my container plants are already on the dry side in the rain shadow of walls and fences or slightly protected under glass, so I like to implement a bit of simple cultural control to reduce down the population of grubs and stop any major losses before spring.
I’m carefully knocking out pots and having a good look and root around to see what’s going on with bulbs and tuberous plants in general. Then gently potting them back into the same pot but having checked them as well for any rot, and also having aerated the soil a little bit too. I leave the milky white larvae out for the birds not far from the many little fat ball hangers I have dotted around then garden in the place of my summer hanging baskets.
However, new beginnings are on the horizon, as a steady flow of my favourite new seed and plant catalogues have been arriving in the post. I’m busy collecting them together to take on holiday. Hopefully i’ll be drooling over them and picking new-to-me varieties to grow this coming season whilst soaking it some much needed sunshine. It’s definately one of my favourite sun-soaked and cocktail-fuelled gardening task of the year.