A new beginning and time to plan aheadWhatever happens in 2021 our gardens will give us hope and enjoyment and gardeners, despite setbacks, always look forward to the future. The weather in January can be cold, wet, frosty, even perhaps snowy, but the new gardening year starts here. Maybe consider growing fruit, vegetables and salad crops for the first time, they can easily be grown in pots if space is limited. How about trying your hand at lettuce, radish, spring onions, or rocket, and when you next visit your local Van Hage, browse through our large range of seeds for ideas and inspiration. Seed potatoes and onion sets are already in stock, and summer bulbs will become available in the coming weeks.
There’s always room for HouseplantsOne of the highlights for January include Citrus trees, and if you have a cool room or conservatory, frost free, with bright light conditions, you have the ideal spot to grow your own oranges, lemons, even grapefruit, should you feel so inclined! Don’t overwater, and remember to use a winter Citrus food, according to the instructions. Other easy to grow houseplants include Palms and Chlorophytum (safe for cats and a great oxygenator), both ideal for the living room. Or, for shadier spots in the home, try Scindapsus (Devils’s Ivy), Nephrolepis (Ladder fern), or Dieffenbachia, all good for kitchens or bathrooms. For flowers indoors, Azaleas need cool conditions and need to be kept moist – don’t let them dry out!
When its grey and gloomy outside, houseplants really come into their own. Specialist houseplants like Peace Lily are excellent air purifiers, Bromeliads give off oxygen at night, ideal for the bedroom. Then not forgetting your feline friends, Cyperus are great for cats to nibble on. There’s a plant for every room and for any conditions in your home, just come in and ask our expert houseplant staff for advice if you’re unsure. Not only are indoor plants colourful and interesting to grow, they’re also immensely beneficial to air quality in the home, they improve wellbeing and simply make us feel good!
Oranges and Lemons...
One of the highlights for January include Citrus trees, and if you have a cool room or conservatory, frost free, with bright light conditions, you have the ideal spot to grow your own oranges, lemons, even grapefruit, should you feel so inclined! Don’t overwater, and remember to use a winter Citrus food, according to the instructions. Other easy to grow houseplants include Palms and Chlorophytum (safe for cats and a great oxygenator), both ideal for the living room. Or, for shadier spots in the home, try Scindapsus (Devils’s Ivy), Nephrolepis (Ladder fern), or Dieffenbachia, all good for kitchens or bathrooms. For flowers indoors, Azaleas need cool conditions and need to be kept moist – don’t let them dry out!
Because houseplant growth slows in winter months with short days and low light levels, try and avoid big changes in temperature levels. Avoid placing your plants close to radiators or cold windowsills as this causes leaves to drop or develop brown edges and be careful not to overwater, as this may cause roots to rot. Don’t forget that while the surface compost may feel dry, the area where the roots are at the bottom of the pot may still be wet. If in doubt, wait an extra day or two to water at this time of year. There’s no need to repot your houseplants until the end of February or beginning of March, as it’s when the days start to warm up and get longer that they will benefit from the fresh compost.
Highlights in the gardenNow that gardens have gone back to bare skeletons, interest is provided by evergreen plants and by
attractive bark and stems, be it the elegant silvery white Birch bark or the shiny brown bark of Tibetan cherry. Cornus, are easy to grow, and suitable for smaller gardens with their red, green or orange-coloured stems and they look beautifully striking in any low winter sunlight.
Evergreen plants include Mahonia, with its large, holly-like leaves and scented yellow flowers. Viburnum ‘Eva Price’ produces pink buds which open into white clusters of flowers when the weather warms up. Another star of January is Hammamelis, (or Witch hazel) with its citrus-scented spidery flowers on bare stems of yellow or coppery-orange, depending on the variety. Try Sarcocca, (Christmas Box), or the winter stalwart Skimmia Japonica with its scented pinky-white flowers. Hellebores are a welcome splash of colour in any border or planted container. A wide range of potted bulbs are available for early flowering, from snowdrops through to crocus, daffodils and later on, flowering Tulips, and they are all good for filling in any gaps in your borders and for providing some welcome early spring colour.
Gardens are always changing, with new ideas and new inspiration coming along all the time, be it from seeing other gardens on TV, or beautiful images in magazines and gardening books. There are so many possibilities, and now is a great time to work out what you want your outdoor space to be, whether it’s a cottage garden using plants such as Roses, Foxgloves, Sweet peas and Delphiniums etc, all very popular in 2020, or perhaps a striking theme using plants in one colour only. For instance, white coloured flowering plants look stunning mixed in with contrasting foliage plants and will do wonders for shady dark areas of the garden which may need some brightening up. Or you can choose perennials that flower over a very long period, such as Erysinium ‘Bowles Mauve’ which easily flowers for 9 or 10 months of the year, or Alstromeria which flowered for 5 months in 2020 in our horticulturist’s garden!
Other ideas to consider are using vertical spaces like trellis or fencing to grow climbers, or you can clear pathways and create new borders. Your garden is your own little world which will hopefully give pleasure and respite from the stressful times we live in, and here at Van Hage we aim to help you achieve just that. Whether you’re new to gardening and want to find some super-easy plants to grow, or if you just want to find the right plant for the right spot, our expert Van Hage team are on hand and always happy to help.
We thank our loyal customers for their support over the past few difficult months, it really has made all the difference to us here at Van Hage. We wish all our customers a very happy, safe and peaceful New Year.
From the Van Hage Team