Elizabeth Jones on what to do in your garden this January – the essential blooms, herbs and crops to pick and plant this month.
Bermuda was so relentlessly grey, cold and wet during the days leading up to the Christmas season and on Christmas Day itself, you could be forgiven for thinking there was no floral colour around at all. But that wasn’t true and now the sun is back and we are heralding in the New Year, there are plenty of flowers available for a great bouquet. True, oleander is not blossoming right now but hibiscus flowers are definitely popping out from our hedges in all their different colours. Bougainvillea is eye-catching as well though not for its flowers, of course. It’s the colourful bracts that make bougainvillea so gorgeous. The vibrant purple and dark pink varieties are most common in Bermuda but the russet orange variety is particularly beautiful, especially when the sunlight shines through these delicate secondary leaves. Native to South America, it was discovered by Philibert Commerson on his trip with French Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville to Tahiti. Commerson duly named it after his friend. Also out in our gardens are begonias, of which there are many species and hybrids. Particularly popular in Bermuda are the semperflorens-cultorum species, commonly known as wax begonias because of the waxlike appearance of their flowers, that come in a range of colours. White blossoms contrast with the plant’s green to bronze leaves. Begonias also honour a French man, Michael Bégon (1638-1710), Governor of French Canada.
Thanks to Hurricane Fiona which wrecked newly planted vegetables, many of us have been carrot deprived over the Christmas season so planting more carrots is a priority, especially as from seed to harvest typically takes 50 to 75 days. Carrots require loose well-drained soil. If that’s not possible in your garden, consider growing carrots in a container. The shorter finger-types or small round carrots, like ‘Paris Market’, are ideal for containers. Make sure your container is at least 12 inches deep. Companion plant with chives, which improve flavour and growth, and rosemary and sage to discourage carrot fly. They will also be useful for their own sakes as flavourings for all sorts of winter dishes and soups.