Life Home & Garden

Saturday 23 November 2019

Leonie Cornelius' inspired planting: plan for January

In a new column, garden designer and interior architect Leonie Cornelius shows you how to transform your outdoor space for 2015. Whether you're a novice or a green-fingered expert, follow her simple step-by-step guides to make gardens of any size burst into bloom

Leonie Cornelius holding a Snow Drop bud
Leonie Cornelius holding a Snow Drop bud
January planting plan
A snow drop flower with root
A Snow Drop flower
Bettina Seitz sculptures

Leonie Cornelius

I love the seasons. The magical cycle is so exciting to watch in the garden. Late summer is probably my favourite in all its spectacular colourful glory.

Then again, there is something very calming and poignant about autumn with its golden foliage and textured seedheads.  Winter, dormant and quiet allows us all the time to reflect on our gardens and re-design and re-structure our schemes and ideas for our spaces.

And yet spring has a very special feel to it. That first leaf which unfurls itself in the garden, the buds on the trees. It signifies a new beginning, new life and a new chapter in the garden. With this in mind I have created a planting scheme which is a rewarding sight this early in spring. Not only that but, as it has mainly evergreen planting, it will continue to look fantastic throughout the year.

This plan includes a beautiful and subtle mix of evergreen and perennial planting. It contains staple January stars such as shade loving Hellebores, beautiful blue-berried Viburnum, spiky shaped Festuca grasses and the lovely delicate Snowdrop. In combination, these flowers will be rewarding in a semi-shaded garden border, or planted individually into pots and grouped together.

Over the next few weeks I will explain why I have chosen each of the individual plants in the scheme and how to care for them. This week we start with the Snowdrop.


Plant choice

Snowdrop: Galanthus nivalis

There is something incredibly special about the first Snowdrop flowers. At the time of the year when there is virtually no flower showing its blooms, the Snowdrop signifies the start of spring. Its tiny, delicate flowers are a welcome sight in January and February. Every time I see them raise their heads, I know spring is near. The name Galanthus comes from the Greek 'Gala' meaning milk and 'Anthus' meaning flower. Snowdrops like partially shady moist and humus-rich soil and they do well in many locations such as slightly shady rocky outcrops and woodlands.

Care: These lovely little plants will seed readily but you are best to lift and divide them after flowering every 2-3 years (between March and May.) This will stop them hybridizing. Simply replant the bulbs after lifting and make sure to water them well. Having said that, I have had them planted in my own garden for about 10 years without ever lifting them and they still look fantastic. Within this planting plan, I suggest placing them in the foreground. Their height and delicate nature means they need a little space to shine. In my opinion, they are at their most beautiful on their own surrounded with a little bit of moss. These delicate little flowers are available from Homeland stores.

Leonie loves…

I love the work by the amazing ceramic artist Bettina Seitz. She makes the most exquisitely subtle garden sculptures based on human  form. The talented artist whose work is in Belgravia Gallery in London was also chosen to create  the Jameson Dublin International Film festival Volta award.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Life