Start planning for the year ahead. After all, a tidy mind will equal a tidy garden. Try these simple tips...
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?
Related: Jobs to do in the garden in December
Raise the rhubarb
This popular pudding tastes even better when the stems are homegrown. Choose a bright, frost-free winter weekend for planting. For success, prepare a planting hole in a sunny, well drained spot and dig in plenty of well rotted manure or compost and allow 75cm between each plant. Rhubarb can be grown in pots, but they need to be very large containers. In their first year, plants should not be harvested or ‘forced’ – let the plants get established. Cover with a rhubarb forcer in the second year, in January. Place a layer of straw over the crown, then put the forcer on top. This will exclude light and encourage early April pickings. Yum!
Plant for early flowers
Add glow to your garden with dainty yellow winter aconites, Eranthus hyemalis. They reach just 10cm in height, but offer a generous spread and are ideal for growing under deciduous shrubs. They’ll naturalise in semi-shade and after a few years you’ll be enjoying a carpet of blooms until March. Plant bulbs in autumn, or for better results, buy plants now.
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.
Care for your roses
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.
Take a root cutting
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.
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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.
Keep feeding the birds
Are you feeding the garden birds? Keep your supplies safely out of the reach of mice in the shed by storing it in a bird feed tin when not in use.
Be prepared for next month. READ: Jobs to do in the garden in February
What other January gardening jobs will you be doing this month?