January Garden Blog
Welcome to our first gardens blog of 2022.
We find ourselves within another interesting winter with recent highs of 15 degrees over the Christmas period. This unseasonable warmth has benefits and drawbacks. Agreed, you do not have to put every coat and hat on to go for your festive walk but neither do the insects that we gardeners deem as pests.
We garden here at Grimsthorpe as organically as possible. We do that by striking a balance with how we control our pests, and a good winter chill is one of the best ways to help lower their numbers. Where in the past gardeners have attempted to vanquish all trace of aphids for instance, we now accept that they are part of the natural cycle, important for communities of predatory insects such as ladybirds, lacewings, and hoverflies. We use a system known as IPM, Integrated Pest Management, which encourages natural controls of pests, removing the need for insecticides. With environmental awareness driven to the fore during 2021, we have a responsibility to garden sustainably, working with nature to create the gardens and outdoor spaces that we cherish and strive for.
Ladybird larvae controlling Aphids (Image Copyright Jim Handley)
First of the Winter Aconites (Image Copyright Jim Handley)
As we move further into January, days start to get longer, and the dark extremities of a winter’s day begin to abate. It can be hard during these dark days, and it is important to notice the intricacies of the space around us to bring us small joys. The search for my first golden aconite emerging from within the leaf litter is a yearly ritual. A successful hunt signals to me that a new year is unfolding, expectations soaring for a successful year of realising new plans and conquering inevitable challenges.
As a gardener, time flies from one job to the next, always in a race with Gaia to achieve jobs before she adapts your plans for her own. January is a month to reflect and focus on yourself. To set yourself for the coming year. Even when the weather has paused what jobs we can be doing outside, is there not a better time to pause, to breathe deeply, to use the crisp blue air to replenish our well-being?
The replenishing landscape at Grimsthorpe (Image Copyright Jim Handley)
Frosted Cardoon (Image Copyright Jim Handley)
Often, I am told that gardeners get a rest during the winter months as “there is very little to do in the garden.” I kindly smile and enlighten the accidental protagonist that all the preparation conducted in the winter months is what sets the foundation for the coming seasons. With the gardens here at Grimsthorpe covering twenty-eight hectares (70 acres) I am sure you will agree we are anything but resting!
Here are a few of the jobs that the gardens team will be undertaking during January.
- Winter pruning fruit trees and soft fruit
- Wisteria pruning
- Mulching beds and borders
- Tree planting
- Rose pruning and planting
- Seed sowing – Sweet Peas, early Broad Beans, Chillies and Tomatoes
- Machinery maintenance
We hope you have an enjoyable and productive month in your gardens, keep yourselves well, and we look forward to seeing you here at Grimsthorpe in the spring!
Head of Gardens & Landscape.