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January 2018 Newsletter
We hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas but are now looking forward to the starting the New Year with gusto. We’re offering you a range of flowers and other plants that we’ve seen in great gardens around the UK and at the top flower shows too.
January’s a great month for garden-planning, gardening and getting exercise without having to spend money on a pricey gym membership. Plus you’ll be blowing the cobwebs after an indulgent Christmas season.
I hope this newsletter gives you inspiration to get your best garden yet this year.
The Unwins team
Our Top 4 tasks for the month
Pat the soil surface of containers and baskets. If the soil is dusty, light and dry water well. If the soil feels damp to the touch take a trowel and check the soil at a depth of around 5cm (2in) to see how dry the subsoil is and water appropriately. Flowers with broad, thin leaves like pansies are liable to need water more than plants with thick glossy leaves like holly or laurel.
Some weeds thrive even in mid-winter, taking advantage of nutrients and light when other flowers are not around. This is when a hoe comes in useful- to skim off the small yet numerous annual weeds like chickweed and hairy bittercress that spring up in flower beds. Look out for resident robins who quite often keep you company as you weed.
If you have trees or bushes of fruit like apples, January is a good time to prune the branches to neaten the overall shape. You can clearly see crossing branches which ruin the shape of your tree. Prune these out so you are left with an open framework of branches ready for the spring.
If you’re a fan of home-growing and love big crops of tasty, earthy spuds give them a great start by ‘chitting’ the seed potatoes in egg boxes. You simply place ‘pre-planting’ seed potatoes in egg boxes and leave them for a month or two in a cool, light area like a porch windowsill. This primes them for strong growth in spring.
Purple is the new black!
Ultra violet is the Pantone® Color Institution official colour of the year for 2018.
Now the gardening world is taking on the trend; the RHS Chelsea Flower Show having featured purple plants in the show gardens and on exhibitor stands.
Purple has a big following in the world of culture and music – just think of some of the hits by icons Prince and Jimi Hendrix – Purple Rain and Purple Haze.
Follow in the footsteps of fans of purple. Paint your garden with purple flowers. Here are some perfect perennial is vibrant and en vogue violets.
Angelica - perfect for structure at the back of your border
Shiny divided leaves give rise to dark stems and huge, almost spherical, beetroot-purple heads containing clusters of aromatic flowers, these are adored by butterflies and bees, while birds love the wonderful seed pods in autumn.
Campanula Sarastro – perfect in a container as a centrepiece plant
Deep shiny violet-purple buds open to huge blue pendant bell flowers. Forming a dense mound of foliage on upright stems this variety grows in most soil types and aspects.Deep shiny violet-purple buds open to huge blue pendant bell flowers. Forming a dense mound of foliage on upright stems this variety grows in most soil types and aspects.
Anchusa Loddon Royalist – perfect for under tree planting
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 contender. Wonderful in flower borders and cut for vases. Beautiful purple flowers on panicle flower heads come out in summer lasting all season long. Edible-flowers make a great garnish and addition to summer salads.
Mealybugs - the menace of houseplants
Keep an eye out for this pest of houseplants like Christmas cactus and citrus trees. Mealybugs make plants weak and give off a sticky substance called honeydew on the leaves. This honeydew encourages black sooty moulds which is at best unsightly and at worst prevents plants from growing properly.
If you want to get rid of mealybugs organically, rub off the mealybugs and wipe the mould off the leaves daily.
An alternative chemical solution is Westland Resolva Bug Killer which dries the mealybugs out solving infestations.
The Unwins catalogue lands on your doorstep this month. When it’s tools down for a coffee or tea break have a flick through the colour pages and plan your dream garden with new flowers and plants selected by plant pro and show-winner Nikki Hargreaves.
Learn about the magic marigold – used world-wide in medicines from India to Mexico, for ceremonial flowers in China and as useful companion plants to allotment crops like garlic.
Read Jemma Cox’s blog on why she finds the marigold a flower worthy of the accolade Fleuroselect Flower of the Year.
Grow a florist’s garden full of flowers that are perfect for cutting and turning into bouquet and vase displays in your own house. As part of the ‘from garden to home’ philosophy it’s easy to choose a selection of flowers which you can enjoy indoors and out.
Here are some of our favourite varieties for flowers perfect for cutting and available at Unwins to grow from seeds, saving you money and decorating both your garden and home.