Jobs to do in January

January is a great month for looking forward to the year ahead – but a bit tedious sometimes if you want to head out into the garden … once there however there are still some jobs to do if you wrap up warm on a bright crisp day….

  • Ideally your borders are now clear of autumn debris – apart perhaps from spectacular seed heads still clinging on, but if this is not the case now is the time to remove any remaining leaves and dead stuff so that spring bulbs look good as they begin to poke through the soil. Be careful when stepping through planted beds not to tread on emerging shoots as this can often be fatal to the plants.

  • If the ground is covered with heavy frost or snow, try to avoid walking or stepping on lawns. This will damage the grass and be evident when the frost disappears.

Now is a good time too for making sure that fences, trellises, and other garden architecture is in good repair before new growth and climbers make this more challenging in the spring. Loose fixings, rotting bits and algae covered wood can all be dealt with now.

  • If you enjoy sweet peas and haven’t yet sown yours, January is the time. Seeds are cheap, and are often given away with gardening magazines at this time of year – or you may have saved some from your favourite varieties last year? Follow the instructions on the packet, or fill root trainers with a mixture of compost and a free draining material such as perlite. See my previous blog on using root trainers. Push the seed an inch of so beneath the surface and water in. Alternatively sow several seeds in a small pot and leave on a sunny windowsill or in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. 

  • January is a great time to plant shrubs and trees, especially bare rooted hedges and roses. Plants bought bare root are usually a lot cheaper than pot grown and establish quickly if planted well into prepared soil in the winter months. However, never plant in water logged soil or in freezing conditions.
My wisteria flowering in May
  • Wisteria can be given its winter prune in January to achieve maximum flowering in the spring. Cut back last season’s growth back to two or three buds from its base. Cut just above the chosen bud but at an angle slanting in the same direction as the bud with secateurs. Whilst you are on your ladder check tension wires are secure and that any unwanted whippy growth is completely removed.
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