Gardening in January in Tofino
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Oy, January, I can barely get past the thought that it should be only October, Not only has time flown by, I think it took the express flight. Although I must say I think my feet have finally caught up with my head, problem is, is now they are both in slow mode. Give it a good shake and move on.
At this time of year, it's just picking up branches, and any other debris that is lying about. Checking to see what you will need to replenish your stock of fertilizers, gloves and tools that you will need within the next month, as nice weather can sneak up on us, and we don't have what we need, like lime, and lawn fertilizer. Take a gander at seed catalogues and get a list made up, as well as pick up supplies for starting seeds. Take a close look at your house plants for signs of aphids, whiteflies and fungus gnats, and write down a list of plants that will need to be transplanted, pick up those supplies so that when you have a bored half hour, or bad weather, you can just open your closet and there it all sits waiting. If you have a greenhouse, pick up slug bait so by the end of the month you can get them, before they get you, take care of the adult, before they lays eggs, as they come out of dormancy earlier in the greenhouse than outside in the garden.
(Okay so I wrote this about 2 weeks before the December snow fall, so shoot me)
January can be the time of harsher weather and heavier snow, make sure you have your trees tied as best as possible. And for everything else, all you can really do is go outside while it's snowing, and just give the plant a good shake, I guess if it's small enough, you could also teepee plywood, or something of the sort, but be sure that it's stable, because heavy wood with snow on it can cause more damage. Most deciduous plants, those with no leaves, can with stand a bit of snow, no real worries there. For those with ponds, be sure there is an air hole doesn't need to be big, about the size of a medium pot bottom, and just boil up some water, and place the pot onto the ice, make sure you have the pot tied, so when it does go through, you can retrieve it without getting too wet. Move any terra cotta pots under cover, so that they don't get wet, and then when it freezes the water expands and breaks the pot. If possible emptying them would be better.
Watch for snowdrops to appear in the garden first and then snow crocus' nest, and after that dutch crocus' and Iris danfordiae, and so spring begins. Also by this time the witch hazels will be in bloom, they are highly scented and range in varying shade of yellow to burnt orange colored flowers. And will continue to bloom through to March. They grow in sun to part shade, and look very natural in woodland gardens. Sarcococca confusa, and S. humilis also blooms from approx. December to February. And so sweetly scented... actually heady. Don't forget about those winter blooming heathers, still high on my list of gotta haves. No scent, but colour, colour, colour, not affected by the rains or snow, again, sun to part shade, and if they get woody with a bare middle, just pile dirt over the woody part, making a mound and it'll regrow. Prune once a year after to flower to make them thicker and tamer. Easy Peasy.
Happy 2009 gardening
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino gardening article for January 2009, written by Trina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino for Tofino Time Magazine.