January is a fairly quiet month in my garden. I’m usually trying to get bulbs in the ground that I neglected to plant in December. Sometimes I realize I didn’t plant enough cool weather annuals and I enlist my family and friends in a big gardening day so that when March rolls around I’m not sorry about my lack of initiative in November. The weather where I live usually settles into definitive pattern of cold, windy, and damp. I hunker down and peruse my plant catalogs for new things to grow and, on the rare sunny and warm day, I venture out into the garden to engage in some cleanup. My eyes are on mid-February, when I can start planting peas and hardening off vegetable transplants. In the meantime, here’s what’s happening in my garden.
Picking out New Annual Flowers


There is nothing I love more than gardening except, perhaps internet shopping. I have been happily clicking through Burpee’s new introductions for 2017 and I’ve found two new annuals for my “wild” flower garden. Is it a “wildflower” garden or a “wild” flower garden? All I know is that it meets no definition of tidy, and it is where I grow all of my cutting flowers. There are two new varieties I’m going to try there next summer: the Andes Jewel Zinnia and the Strawberry Blonde Marigold. In fact, I’ll probably grow them mixed together, as the pink and blush tones from the marigold look like they’ll make the zinnias pop.

Andes Jewel Zinnia look slike a sweet new addition for my wildflower garden.

I am a sucker for a pretty marigold and looking forward to growing Strawberry Blonde.

Shopping for Perennials and Shrubs

I do not have a ton of room left in my garden for shrubs, but I will make an exception for Mars Madness hardy hibiscus. Who would not find space for a late summer bloomer with 9 inch fuchsia flowers? I’ll also be planting a few of the Rosie Posie agastache. I’ve found that agastache plants do well in my soil, so I have a little collection going. This will be a nice addition.

My "wildflower" garden is in full sun with fast-draining soil: a perfect place for Rosie Posie.

Mars Madness hibiscus is the perfect size for my suburban garden.

Garden Cleanup
Alas, there would be no space to plant anything new if I didn’t do a bit of garden cleanup in January. By now the perennials are well and truly dormant, so I can chop freely without worrying that I’ll push them into new growth that will get whacked back by frost. In fact, January and February are my last windows to cut back dormant perennials. In March it all starts growing again!
I’m also getting vegetable gardens ready for a spring re-plant. Where I live, the soil is sandy, and it’s a never-ending battle to keep the organic matter content up. It’s impossible to add too much compost. I also like to get a few bags of worm castings and rake them into the soil a few weeks before I plant.

Cut back dormant perennials now.

Add compost and worm castings to vegetable beds.