Gardener’s Blog – January 2015

It’s New Year and we’re celebrating the start of the seasonal cycle at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. As the gardens are a little quieter this time of year, it gives us time to reflect on the highs and lows of 2014 and focus on bigger projects that will be launched throughout 2015.

Wayne is hard at work with fellow gardeners to create the new Plant Evolution Trail that will wrap around the outside of the Sub-Tropical House. The decking boards, all made from recycled plastic, are now being put in ready to be filled with plants such as algae, mosses and ferns.

To keep spirits high during these projects, the gardeners usually tell each other terrible jokes and eat leftover Christmas biscuits. The trail is expected to be completed in the next two or three months ready to be launched to our visitors in the spring.

Wayne has also enlisted the help of the garden’s ‘orchid expert’, Dave to complete the new Orchid Case. Come and see the beautiful specimens now that they have been planted in our Sub-Tropical House. The x Bratonia ‘Aztec’ is now in bloom, which is giving the glasshouse a lovely splash of colour. Wayne will also be spending this month traveling to Dartfrog in Kidderminster to source rare orchids to grace the case even further so remember to visit regularly to see the new arrivals.

Chris and Lucie have completed planting the new roses in the Rose Garden and visitors will be treated to an array of different colours ranging from shades of peaches, pinks and purples. The new David Austin roses include Queen of Sweden, Munstead Wood, The Lady Gardener, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Scarborough Fair. Lucie is now tasked with choosing the herbaceous perennial plants to complete the bed. She will also be attending a special rose pruning course at David Austin this month and will bring her new skills back to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Camelias have also been planted near the bandstand that will provide a beautiful backdrop for wedding photography, as there will be plants in flower for every season. The fragrant scent and beautiful colours will impress all wedding guests regardless of the time of year. Hydrangeas may also become a resident in the ‘jazzed up’ bandstand area as well.

It’s not all about glamour in the gardens, there are some laborious, yet essential, projects for the winter, so Chris and the gardeners will be cutting back hedges, keeping the paths clear and ensuring that visitors stay off the grass when it is frosty or wet. The students at Birmingham Metropolitan College will continue to clear up the area for the new Children’s Discovery Garden for its reopening in Easter.

Our plants will be better categorized in the new year as our volunteer, Liz has produced 500 new labels for plants in the glasshouses and the gardens. Take a look around and see how many of the new tags you can spot.

As for our own new year’s resolutions, Wayne will be working hard to complete the Plant Evolution Trail for spring and is looking forward to introducing new flowers to the glasshouses. As for Chris, her main focus is to reopen the Children’s Discovery Garden for Easter.

This month’s gardening tip from our gardeners is to check any newly planted shrubs or trees after heavy frosts. Icy conditions can make the soil move away from the roots, which means they may need re-firming in the ground. The last of the fallen leaves should also be cleared away to ensure grassy areas stay nice and healthy.

If you’d like to share your own gardening tips for January, make sure you tweet them to @BhamBotanicalGd. And don’t forget to check out our plants of the month.