January is the time to tidy your garden shed and clean your garden tools, pots and trays. Have your mower serviced, too! After heavy snowfall, gently brush snow off conifers and hedges to stop the weight forcing them apart. Make sure all your plants are insulated and protected with garden fleece. If you’re ready to brave the fierce winter elements, then dig over beds and borders, incorporating as much organic matter as you can. So, what other gardening jobs should we be doing in January?
Start planning for the year ahead. After all, a tidy mind will equal a tidy garden.
Snowdrops should be bought and planted ‘in the green‘, rather than as bulbs. This means shortly after they have flowered and while still in leaf. Plant them 2.5cm apart in moist, well-drained soil that’s shaded in the summer. Label the spot to avoid accidentally disturbing them. Every few years, divide thick clumps after flowering.
Prune and shape bare trees and shrubs, using sharp secateurs.
Prune roses by cutting each stem back to the lowest, outward-facing bud. Some types require additional care by removing dead wood and shortening leading shoots by a third.
Plant bare-root roses, trees, fruit bushes and hedges and make sure you label them clearly. Find waterproof porcelain plant labels at Jo Heckett.
January is the time to buy seeds, string, summer-flowering bulbs and canes while garden centres are quiet but still well-stocked.
These are the rooted shoots of living willow plants and you can weave them into leafy garden structures, such as arbours, domes, tunnels or ‘fedges’ – that’s a cross between a fence and a hedge. It’s fast-growing and totally ‘eco’, too.
Daphne odora has a heavenly scent, and is one of the first spring flowers to bloom. Shrubby honeysuckles and mahonias also smell gorgeous and flower for weeks on end.
We usually think of something leafy stuck in a pot to take root when we think of cuttings. But some herbaceous plants, such as oriental poppies, are most easily propagated by root cuttings.
Dig up the clump you want to increase and chop up a few of the roots into pieces about 2 – 5cm long. Cuttings should be set vertically (top end up) into pots full of a sandy, light compost. If you want to make the top cuts slanted and the bottom cuts straight, it helps remind you which is which when you’re potting them up. You’ll need to wait for several months, but by June, you should have young plants sturdy enough to be grown-on in a bed.
Plant a little group or tunnel of hazelnut trees. Traditionally, they are underplanted with the earliest bulbs snowdrops and aconites. The golden catkins combine well with these delicate flowers naturalised beneath them.
Find more gardening tips and ideas, as well as inspiring garden schemes in our garden channel page.