What to do in the garden in January
There's always something to be doing in the garden, whether it's pruning, tidying or sowing, so we've put together our top gardening tasks for January.
***** Cold Weather Update *****
With warnings of a cold snap you may be concerned that some of your garden plants, which have shown signs of growth, may be damaged. Here is some advice from our horticultural team on how to best protect your plants.
Even in mild areas, tender plants that cannot be left outside with protection should really be taken into the greenhouse or conservatory when there is risk of a cold snap. In cold areas, you are best moving things inside much earlier, in the autumn. Any tender lants that are being over wintered outdoors need protective straw or fleece.
In cold spells, protect non frost-proof containers (terracotta pots for example) with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece, to prevent them cracking. Grouping the pots close to a south-facing wall may provide additional protection to the most vulnerable ones.
Protect newly planted trees, hedges and shrubs from cold winds and frosts, which can loosen and lift the roots. Gently re-firm them in if you notice this problem, and erect a temporary netting windbreak if there is no natural shelter. Thick dry mulches will protect the roots from cold, and branches can be covered with fleece, or even packed with dry straw and then covered with fleece, for tender plants. A wooden frame with clear polythene stretched over it does a similar job for evergreens without blocking the light, but don’t let the polythene touch the leaves, as condensation could freeze or cause rots.
If you find that some plants are damaged by frosts etc, then they may well need a bit of a boost when they regrow in spring. We recommend mulching with compost and using fertiliser such as Incredibloom etc as this will help the plants when they need it.
In the flower garden
- • Prune your Wisteria plant now, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
- • Prune rose bushes now whilst they are dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.
- • You can plant bare root roses now in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour.
- • If your garden is looking a bit bare try growing a winter-flowering evergreen Clematis such as 'Winter Beauty'. To find out how to prune Clematis take a look at our Clematis pruning guide.
- • For a more unusual bare-root plant to add to your borders now, try growing Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily).
- • Cut back the old foliage from ornamental grasses before growth begins - clip them to within a few centimetres of the ground.
- • Cut down the old stems of perennial plants like Sedum - be careful of any new growth.
- • Remove old Hellebore leaves to make the new blooms more visible as they emerge this spring.
- • Cut back damaged, diseased and the oldest stems of brightly coloured willows, and thin overcrowded stems.
- • Remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed.
In the vegetable garden
- • Harvest parsnips and leeks.
- • If you'd like to grow early peas, place a cloche over the soil to let it warm up for a few weeks prior to sowing.
- • While you're waiting for the weather to warm up, try growing your own mushrooms using one of our mushroom kits indoors.
- • Start chitting (sprouting) early potatoes - stand them on end in a module tray or egg box and place in a bright cool frost-free place
- • You can start growing
in containers under cover for a very early crop (
potatoes are a good variety for this).
Potato Patio Planters
are ideal for growing early potatoes in small spaces.
- • If your greenhouse is unheated, protect your potato grow bags with
on cold nights.
- • Remove yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas as they are no use to the plant and may harbour pests and diseases.
In the fruit garden
- • Begin pruning your apple trees and pear trees if you haven't done so already - this is best done whilst they are dormant.
- • Leave plums, cherries and apricots unpruned until the summer as pruning these fruit trees now will make them susceptible to silver leaf infections.
- • Prune blackcurrant bushes, gooseberries and redcurrants to maintain a productive framework.
- • Try forcing rhubarb plants by placing an upturned bucket or bin over the crown. This will force tender pink stems to grow that will be ready in about 8 weeks time.
- • Continue to plant
on sunny sites with free-draining soil.
- • If you're looking for something a bit different to add to your fruit garden, try the nutritious Blueberry PinkBerry.
- • Order fruit bushes such as currants now and plant in a well prepared bed in a sheltered position; they will be a lot tastier than supermarket produce!
In the greenhouse
- • Brush heavy snow off of greenhouses and cold frames to prevent the glass being damaged.
- • Keep your potato planters inside as frosts will kill the foliage.
- • Plant Amaryllis bulbs in pots now for stunning indoor flowers in early spring.
- • For better seed germination, try using
to help your early seedlings along.
Looking after your lawn
- • Avoid walking on your lawn when it is blanketed by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass beneath.
From your armchair
- • Order your seeds now. Have a garden plan drawn up to help decide the quantities you need.
- • Plan your vegetable plot for this year to ensure good crop rotation and prevent pests and diseases building up in the soil.
- • Consider dedicating a bed to perennial vegetables such as
. Order spring-planting crowns and tubers now in preparation for the spring.
- • If you'd like to have a go at growing your own fruit, order your
now ready for planting in the spring.
- • Now is the ideal time to order Clematisready for planting in the spring.
- • Start to think about your hanging baskets for this year. Order your
now in preparation for the busy spring period.
Other jobs about the garden
- • Brush heavy snow of off hedges and conifers to prevent the branches from snapping out under its weight.
- • Shred your Christmas tree and add it to compost bins. Alternatively the stripped down branches make great pea sticks.
- • Hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up to attract birds, who will in turn eat pests in your garden.
- • Get rid of slimy patches on the patio, and paving by scrubbing with a broom or blasting with a pressure washer.
- • Wash empty pots by scrubbing them with hot water and a mild detergent. Rinse them well afterwards.
- • Consider purchasing water butts now ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants (tap water is often slightly alkaline).
- • Continue planting trees and shrubs while they are still dormant.
- • If all you can see from your windows are unattractive sheds, composting areas and bins this winter, think about using evergreen climbing plants like Clematis '
Winter Beauty' or Clematis
as a screen, or just to add winter interest.
- • Keep an eye on fruits and vegetables in storage and remove any that are diseased.
- • Check Dahlia tubers in storage and remove any that are showing signs of rotting.
- • Central heating can dry the air in your home and cause damage to indoor plants. Mist house plants regularly and stand them on a tray of pebbles filled with water to increase the humidity.