Tasks for January
A fresh start in the garden with all your exciting plans of what to do for the year ahead.
A chance for you to start a gardening calendar that will come in useful year on year. Remember and wrap up warm as the weather will be bitter at times I'm sure. Try and choose a warmer bright day if doing any pruning or perhaps leave until next month...
There are some council facilities for collecting your old christmas tree or places where you can take them and drop them off. Better still shred it yourself and add to your compost heap.
By now you have probably managed to have all your tools and equipment cleaned thoroughly, ready for getting started again. If not, this month would be a great chance to get this done. The greenhouse and the shed could be done too, all nice and tidy for you to get a head start.
Give everything a good check over. Ties and stakes are hopefully still doing their job, replace/secure if the weather has been rough on them.
The wildlife in your garden will still need their sheltered secret areas for a wee while yet so don't be too quick sweeping out and cleaning up everything. Check the birdfeeders and the birdbaths on a regular basis.
If you haven't done them already pruning roses would be good at the moment whilst they're dormant. Take away any crossing or diseased and spindly stems. Try to keep a good open framework to ensure good airflow which will discourage mildew.
Pruning of deciduous shrubs can be done at this time. Some may need taken down quite a bit if they are over grown and it will rejuvenate them. Don't do evergreen shrubs at this time, and avoid pruning tender plants and any Plum and Ornamental Cherry trees.
In the greenhouse you could start sowing some seeds such as sweet peas. If you have some that were sown in autumn then check to see if they may need potted on. There is still time for buying seeds, enjoy having a browse around and maybe planning your colours and designs for your borders.
Nearer the end of the month any herbaceous perennial plants could be cut back and tidied along with grasses. Some gardeners do leave them until later as they are cover and protection for some wildlife. Take care, you don't want to snip any new growth beginning to show at the base of these plants (which will be weather dependant) . Your hellebores may have some flowers and buds which will have the promise of more to come, gorgeous. Remove any old leaves from them and let more light into the buds.
If you have some deciduous climbers which are unruly and overgrown they can be cut hard back to encourage fresh new growth ready to be tied in and spread out.
If you have winter bedding such as primroses or pansies then clear any debris from around them, letting the air. Dead head them if required to encourage more flowers and as the weather warms up they will be sure to give you some lovely colour.
Willow trees and shrubs can be trimmed back and thinned out at this time allowing space for more airflow and fresh new stems to come in, even taking a third of the stems will help, choose the older ones.
If you haven't already pruned your apple and pear trees then best to do it now while the tree is still dormant. Remember to create a good open goblet shaped frame removing any crossing branches. Due to causing silver leaf fungal infections leave your plum and cherry trees (stone fruits) until summer time.
Pruning your gooseberries and currants to encourage a good shape and healthy plant should be done now and will benefit you with a good healthy crop.
If you have a rhubarb forcer this can be put in place now or use an upturned bucket. Look forward to some delicious tender stems in a couple of months time.
This would be a good time to get any last minute moving done of any shrubs or trees when they are still dormant, if the ground is not frozen of course.
If the ground is frozen or snowy then "KEEP OFF THE GRASS"
Weeding is an ongoing chore that needs done but it is always best to try and stay on top of it.
Keep an eye on any lying snow on your cold frame or greenhouse. It is always best to remove this whenever you can to protect the glass from breaking with the weight.
Heavy snow can also cause damage to shrubs and hedges. Sweep of with a brush gently to try and prevent any becoming disfigured or broken.
There are always the birds to look after, by keeping your bird feeders topped up and access to fresh unfrozen water you will be doing your bit to support them through to springtime.
Keep your paths and patio free from slippery algae with a strong broom, chemicals or power washing. Of course at this time paths etc can be slippery with the frosts or even some snow. Having a snow shovel and some salt or gritty sand will help keep a safe pathway to your door.
Sit back with your notebook and pen, a cuppy in hand and relax! A wee plan of what you want to do for your summer planters and borders would be a good idea. Maybe you can list the seed you need to get, or co-ordinate a colour theme and start looking for new pots or plants that you will need.