Searching for signs of spring

The shortest day is behind us and the amount of daylight we can enjoy is slowly increasing – we can expect about an hour’s extra daylight by January 18, which is something to look forward to.

The gardening team will not waste a second of it!

Routine jobs, such as clearing paths of leaves, and any snow and ice that we may have, is one that keeps us occupied at this time of year, but we’ll have many delights to enjoy in the gardens that will help to raise our spirits.

Head to the Wilson border, the aviary winter bed and the winter border and you’ll be rewarded with wonderfully scented winter shrubs, such as hamamelis (witch hazel), Daphne and sarcococca (Christmas box), which will continue to flower throughout January.

January is also the time when the leaf buds of many spring flowering bulbs just start to poke through the soil around the gardens. It’s heartening to see these pop up out of the soil and if you visit the gardens a number of times over the month, you’re bound to notice them all, too.

It is usually this month that we start to hear the song thrush singing and the woodpeckers “drumming” – both signs of the birds marking their territories before the spring. If you are lucky, you will also see the shy redwings from Scandinavia stripping the red berries off the hollies in the woodland walk.

One mammoth task for the gardening team this month is putting out the 700 plant labels we have ordered. This will prove to be a significant plant identification test and a great test of our horticultural knowledge!

Enjoy whatever you can do in the garden this month – there’s usually something that can be done, unless the weather is very bad. So even if you manage just 10 minutes of pottering and tidying, it’s a great way to switch off from the stresses of our everyday lives.

If you’re visiting us this month, and spot something you love, have a question about a specific plant or just want to highlight your trip, please tag us or post to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. We love to see what our visitors enjoy when they spend time here. We hope to see you all soon.