Good Gardening with Mark Curtis: January 2019

01/01/19 News
The two-faced Roman god of gateways, Janus, who gave us the month of January, presiding over endings and beginnings and looking both before and after, could be a useful one for gardeners to think about at the turn of the year. Luckily, we can celebrate our garden successes and rectify mistakes from one year to the next, incorporating aspects and highlights from other gardeners’ designs in our own outdoor spaces.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show might seem an impossible place to start, but three gardens caught my eye this year. The gloriously rugged (but perfect in every detail) ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ Garden, with its combination of naturalistic planting, water and stonework. The LG ‘Eco-City’ Garden was particularly cheery and uplifting, with the colourful blends of Geums Totally Tangerine/Banana Daquiri, yellow Gallery Lupins, white Foxgloves and apricot roses (in this case Rosa ‘Salvation'). Geums certainly hit the spot this year and I am planning to incorporate more into my plantings. 
Nearer to home, Newhaven in Bloom saw inspirational displays, especially from Ellis Gordon Court, with their living wall and living seat, made from individual planting pockets. I take my gardening hat off to them!
On my homestead, the glorious Rose ‘Rambling Rector' extended its beauty even further, Geraniums ‘Katherine Adele’ and ‘Magnificum’ made a picture perfect display. I wonder, is it ever possible to have too many Geraniums? A mix up in the home labelling department though (note to self: write plant labels clearer) did mean that the window boxes, although pretty, didn't have the planned combination of colours! 
But that is part of my Janus review, and wish for every gardener that the coming year will be even better! 
Mark Curtis
Plant Manager, Tates of Sussex

For more gardening tips for the month, please visit