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January in the Garden

Floral Designer's Must-Have Plant of the Month

Aucuba japonica ‘Gold Dust’, commonly called Japanese Laurel, is a shrub for shade that provides foliage with yellow markings for a perfect transition from the evergreens of winter to the yellows of spring, or all year in floral designs. It lasts for weeks in water and will even root. 


Aucuba is popular in the garden for its broad, evergreen leaves. It is often used as screens or backdrop plants. It handles full shade but prefers bright light and even part sun (morning or evening) for best color, especially the variegated varieties.


Checklist for the Garden

  • Enjoy winter bloomers such as Hellebores, Rosemary, Mahonia, Daphne, and Camellia japonica. Note where you need to add some come planting season.

  • Water before a cold snap to help plants survive bitter temperatures (if it is dry).

  • Get out garden catalogs or read a book on gardening.

  • Most house plants are semi-dormant due to short days of winter so do not fertilize or over-water.

  • Emerging spring flowering bulbs such as crocus and daffodils need not worry you. The foliage contains an “antifreeze” that will protect the plants from cold. If the plant blooms, however, cut the flowers to enjoy indoors before freezing temperatures return.

  • Pansies and violas can withstand freezing weather. But if you are expecting 5-7 nights of below 30 degree F temperatures, cover your plants with newspaper, buckets or an old sheet until morning.

  • Remember the birds – suet and sunflower seeds are top choices for winter cold.

Earlier Event: December 1
November in the Garden
Later Event: February 1
February in the Garden