So it's January, and memories of a beautiful, blooming summer backyard with abundant honeybees and butterflies feel a long way away. The arrival of the new year has brought with it rain, clouds, and sometimes even snow - growth and rejuvenation feels a long way off.
While this frosty weather probably doesn't get you in the gardening mood, making the time to stretch your green fingers now will sow the seeds for a fabulous and fragrant modern garden once spring and summer do eventually arrive. Here are five of the best flowers to plant today - just remember to layer up in your warmest clothes before you head out there!
Snapdragon seeds are perfect to sow in January as they flourish in cold weather. 'Start seeds indoors and transplant when they're about 6 inches tall,' says Zahid Adnan from The Plant Bible. 'Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil.'
Snapdragons usually bloom in late spring to early summer, so you won't be waiting too long to see the vibrant colored flowers bloom around your garden borders.
Another great flower to sow in January is pansies. 'For a splash of color, sowing pansies in January is great. They're cold-tolerant and can be started indoors,' says gardening blogger Tony O'Neill. 'When sown now, they'll be ready to brighten up your garden in early spring, making them a rewarding choice for early-year planting.'
These pretty pansies (and the smaller variety, violas) are one of the most popular flowers in the backyard, and are more aromatic in the early morning and at dusk, perfect for a fragrant evening.
Also known as the Christmas rose, early-blooming hellebores are shade-loving and long flowering, with glossy green foliage and unique, deeply rich petals. They look striking and unusual and can flower even in snowy weather.
'Hellebores can be planted in January, as they like cold weather and bloom in the winter. They appear very delicate but survive the cold weather extremely well,' says Jeremy Yamaguchi from Lawn Love. 'They bring more subtle colors to the mix and are a great addition. If you are having a hard time getting this plant to take off with its growth, sprinkling some Epsom salt around it can help.'
A close relative of pansies, violas are cheerful, sprightly, and lightly perfumed, perfect for bridging the gap between the colder months and summer. They bloom in violets, lilacs, pinks, and deep blues, and can turn even a small garden into a flower haven.
'My favorite flowers to plant in January are violas and pansies. These flowers can survive the coldness of winter and don't require more than four hours of sunlight,' says Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn. Violas grow more abundantly than pansies, so are the perfect option if you're a gardening novice who is just starting a flower garden.
'Delphiniums are another flower good for January, and they can grow up to six feet tall', says Dan. Delphiniums make an absolutely stunning addition to your garden, with towering indigo flowers that are perfect for landscaping. They can also grow in whites, pinks and reds, and their vivid colors create an eye-catching display, immediately elevating your backyard.
Ready to introduce some colorful blooms to your outdoor space? Get growing this month with these floral ideas!
Our top picks for a flourishing sunny season
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Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.
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