"January brings the snow, makes our feet
and fingers glow.”
That may well be the case for some of us but much of the country has been uncommonly mild. Welcome to the New Year and if, like us, you’re in an area where you haven’t seen a single flake of snow you may well be looking on the garden and thinking: I could be out there doing things. You could be warming up with a bit of pruning you didn’t get done before Christmas. Pear and apple trees will appreciate weak branches and dead wood being cut back and thick growth, tangled in the centre of a shrub or tree, once removed will get the air circulating. You can prune late vines but not apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches or figs.
So move on to a bit of digging if the ground’s not too hard and you can plant new fruit bushes, bare root roses, hedging and various shrubs. You might want to protect them from cold winds and frosts, which can loosen and lift them, by giving them a temporary wind break of netting to be safe.
You can take hardwood cuttings of deciduous trees and shrubs, cut down the old stems of perennial plants like Sedum, being careful where there is new growth, and remove old Hellebore leaves so the new blooms are more visible when they emerge.
If you have lots of colourful winter pansies in containers and hanging baskets, dead head them to stop them running to seed. Should it snow, take to the indoors and start sowing annuals and bedding plants in modules. There’s nothing like getting set for the spring.
- Recycle the Christmas tree
- Prune Wisteria and rose bushes
- Sow seeds that need frost to germinate: alpine plants, native shrubs and trees
- Sow sweet peas, plant lily bulbs in pots or borders if it’s mild
- In a heated greenhouse or propagator sow Pelargonium and Lobelia
- Force rhubarb
- Prepare ground for bedding plants by digging in manure
- Sow hardy bulbs in succession