January Flowers

posted in: Gardening | 30
Here are some of the January flowers you can grow to give colour and interest in the garden during the dark short days of winter. Moreover all of these will survive a Scottish winter and also come back again each year.
Strange weather isn’t it! Do you think that our winter has gone into hibernation? It’s certainly a great time to buy a snow shovel at a discounted price around here! The radio is on as I type this and the weatherman is assuring me that it’s going to get a little bit frosty and crisper here over the next few days.  Now ‘crisp’  is a word I can relate to in January but will some of my flowers feel the same way?  Who has ever heard of a perennial Oestospermum flowering in a Scottish frost pocket in January. Or even a yellow wallflower and a Hebe Pixie?  Will their petals cope with ‘crisp’ on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day?

January Flowers

January flowers - pink Lenten Rose
The Lenten Rose that first started to flower in November
January flowers - Iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin'
Iris reticulata Katharine Hodgkin – Even this iris has made an early entrance into the garden. In fact my first photos taken of these flowers  in 2011 were in March!
Hamamelis × intermedia 'Jelena', Primula 'Greensleeves' mix, Oesteospermum, Primula 'Heritage', Hebe 'Pixie'
Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Jelena’, Primula ‘Greensleeves’ mix, Oesteospermum, Primula ‘Heritage’, Hebe ‘Pixie January flowers

To Weed or Not to Weed

I shocked myself as well last weekend when I ended up doing a few  proper gardening jobs in January!  I planted over 2 dozen 9cm pots of Auriculas propagated from my neighbours stock and some passalong clumps of Hemerocallis.


Then I surveyed the borders further from the kitchen window and was horrified to see that I need to move weeding up my list of priorities and  SOON TOO.  The border near the boundary fence had its makeover in the autumn and now is full of that invasive hairy bittercress Cardamine hirsuta that has relished in our very moist  and crisp winter weather.


To Weed or Not To Weed …that is the question!

Who weeds in January? Well you might but I don’t even venture down to that part of the garden. But normally view it from a window! Those little weeds have the reputation for their exploding seedpods. In fact their seed dispersal rate is up to 1 metre away if they are shaken by the gardener or by the wind. Consequently I’ll be sorting them out as soon as possible … before they flower!

January flowers - Hellebore 'Niger', Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion', Pulmonaria 'Diane Clare', Erica carnea, Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire'
More January flowers, stems and berries – Hellebore ‘Niger’, Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’, Pulmonaria ‘Diane Clare’, Erica carnea, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
Did you know that some people use that same weed in their salads?  There’s even a UK website called Eat weeds which gives plenty of wild food foraging recipes including one for Hairy bittercress.  I’ve heard of crisp lettuce but never crisp Hairy bittercress. Despite it tasting peppery mine won’t be heading to the dinner table. However I’ve probably got enough to feed a family of 4! Makes me wonder what Hairy bittercress soup would taste like? Hmmn … no I’m not that brave!
Witchhazel 'Jelena'
winter flowering witch hazel flowers  – Jelena



I think my Witch hazel Jelena looks very much like the Pantone Tangerine Tango color of 2012.  I like the colour description from Pantone. It’s supposed to be a spirited reddish orange providing the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.


And I sure need some of that if I’m ever going to head into the garden in a crisp January to weed!


Check out more of my winter flowering plants here.

Rosie Nixon
Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. If you'd like to receive the latest leavesnbloom blog posts by email click here.

Rosie Nixon
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30 Responses

  1. Avatar

    Wow, January is a bit early for gardening work I think. We have had a very mild winter even if it has been very windy and wet. It is very chilly here tonight though and we may get some frost.
    I love your pictures particularly your iris – it is very beautiful.

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    @Ellie I'm sure the grass has been growing too Ellie – you are probably even a degree or two warmer over on the West coast. I much prefer frost to those hurricane force winds we've had recently.

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    Bernie H

    You do have some beautiful little things in your January garden. The Iris is lovely and how marvellous to see the Osteospermum! Such a lovely collection of shots for GBBD this month.

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    I love the softness and hue of your photographs. We, too, here in Northern Colorado are experiencing a rather mild winter. It is much too warm and too dry. Little snow, but now weeds yet–edible or not.

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    It's disconcerting – especially given your location.

    About weeding. That's something I've been wondering about – whether weeding in the winter is a way of keeping things under control or whether it disturbs the ground in a way which lets too much cold in should the temperatures take a dip. Sometimes I'm quite glad when frosts zap what's under the surface, sometimes not – depends what's there!

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    UnGiardino InDiretta

    Even here, the winter was much milder than the previous ones, but I haven't blooms so early!
    Your iris is magnificent and, it's true, your witch hazel gives courage and warmth!

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    Ah, it is so good to see what is in flower before Spring even arrives. It has also been mild in Aberdeen with no snow to speak of, but clearly colder than your place is. alistair

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    It has indeed been a strange winter, but we are finally back on a more normal course–it's cold here, and the ground is covered with snow. I haven't even ventured out to try to take photos for GBBD yet, but I know there's nothing blooming out there. I'm amazed at all your blooms, Rosie, especially an oestospermum in January! Love the witchhazel.

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    I can't believe the iris bloom! Wow – that IS crazy! And yes, I've been weeding, too. Some of my weeds have already started flowering, so I have no choice. Usually I'm not out in the garden in Jan or Feb. I like being out there, but in a way wish I had had a little more down time. Happy GBBD!

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    What a wonderful post! Your photographs, as always, are just awesome. I am always promising myself a witch hazel, the Jelena is a great colour. Happy GBBD 🙂

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    Landscape Design By Lee

    Beautiful new look and garden photos! It has been a mild January here as well until now. Temperatures are dropping rapidly. Your gardens still look great…the witchhazel looks amazing!

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    What an amazing site you have… and it's also an amazing sight… I do enjoy my visits! Larry

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    Ooh, the pictures are breathtaking!
    I've just joined in the blotanical and found your blog!
    So glad that you shared the beautiful phogos with all of us.

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    That first Hellebore is beautiful! Way ahead of mine. You do have some really early bloomers. I hope they do okay in the cold weather you have coming. I was doing some weeding and cleanup just a week ago here, now it's all covered in snow.

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    Exquisite images and presentation Rosie. I chuckled at the thought of your weeding dilemma – the thought of nibbling hairy bittercress does not do much for me either 🙂 It looks at long last that we in for a couple of decent seasonal cold snaps.

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    Gorgeous post, loved every bit of it…especially the Witch Hazel…just stunning! I have a few weeds I noticed the other day as well…which also have a tendency to explode their seeds all over I not removed soon enough.

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    The blooms are marvelous, especially that first one. Even if i don't know the flowers, the photos always mesmerize me. When you said winter now is different, does that mean it is a little warmer this year with you? I remember them saying climate change will make the cold climes colder and hot climes hotter, is it already happening?

  24. Avatar

    I'm glad I don't feel compelled to any gardening. Not that I could anyway with the ground frozen and covered in 3 feet of snow.. 🙂 Our temperature is heading to minus 30 Celsius tonight, yikes!

  25. Avatar
    Wife, Mother, Gardener

    Rosie, What a wonderful gift in January! even the weeding 🙂

    I remember well your Iris reticulata 'Katharine Hodgkin' from last March; I added to my own bulb order in the fall and have 50 in the ground for this spring. No sign of them yet… maybe March??

    Happy GBBD!
    Julie in PA, USA

  26. Avatar

    Beautiful photos! I love the Witchhazel, it's on my list of plants to add to my garden in 2012 🙂

  27. Avatar
    Curbstone Valley Farm

    The orange of that Witchhazel is one of my favorite colors. I love the coppery rusty hues of blooms in that palette, and the description is perfect. I can't believe how much you have blooming, weeds aside, in January no less. It's been so bitter cold for us, and dry (until today), that I think our blooms will be hiding for a while!

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    Nancy @ A Rural Journal

    I'm totally amazed at what is growing in your garden this time of year. All we see outdoors now is various shades of gray and brown. It has been really dry and warmer than usual for us as well. We need some moisture!

    Love your photography and your blooms are lovely. 🙂

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    Sarah (Nikki)

    Gardening in January – the thought is funny b/c up here the ground is definite winter. Love the shot of the Jelena…she looks so wispy.