Jobs for January

FLOWER GARDEN

  • Shake heavy snow off evergreens and conifers
  • Tie in upright (fastigiate) conifers with bands of wire to stop wind and snow spoiling their shape
  • Study summer bulb catalogues and order bulbs
  • Order seeds
  • Order plug plants of tender perennials to grow on in a cold greenhouse for summer display
  • Protect crowns of hardy fuchsias with straw or bark
  • Protect polyanthus buds from birds with black cotton
  • Service the lawn mower
  • Float a ball on the surface of the pond to keep some of it ice-free so fish and wildlife can breathe. Never break ice
  • Firm down newly-planted plants which have been lifted by frost

CONTAINER GARDENING

  • Dead-head winter-flowering pansies
  • Avoid over watering, but don’t let compost dry out completely

KITCHEN GARDEN

  • Winter—prune fruit trees such as apples — remove dead wood and overcrowded spurs to stimulate growth
  • Continue winter digging, provided ground is frost-free
  • Cover rhubarb crowns with straw and a large pot to produce tender, pink shoots

GREENHOUSE

  • Start sowing in the heated greenhouse beognias, lobelia and antirrhinum first
  • Sow leeks and brassicas
  • Chit seed potatoes, placing them in trays in a cool light. This speeds up growth when you plant in six weeks’ time
  • In a heated greenhouse, pot up canna rhizomes to start them into growth
  • If temperatures drop, cover plants with sheets of newspaper
  • Check plants and pick off any sign of aphids and grey mould fungus
  • Sow sweet peas if you didn’t do it in October

Know your soil type
If you don’t know the pH of your soil, now’s a good time to get a simple testing kit from a garden centre. Low pH indicates acid soil, suitable for plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, many heathers and camellias, as well as blue hydrangea flowers. Alkaline or chalky soils have a high pH, and suit lime-loving plants.


Now’s The Time

  •  Paint Fences
    In Fine weather take the chance to treat fences with wood preservative while plants are dormant.
    Modern wood preservatives don’t damage green foliage.
  • Check Houseplants
    Move delicate houseplants from cold windowsills at night.
    Wipe away dust from leathery-leaved specimens with a damp cloth.
  • Treat Indoor Bulbs
    Deadhead hyacinths and daffodils after they have flowered in the house.
    Transfer the pots to a sheltered position while the foliage dies down, then plant the bulbs out in the garden in spring.
  • Renovate Hedges
    Old hedges of yew, lonicera and beech (but not conifers such as leylandii) stand hard pruning back to the main stem.
    Feed and mulch to encourage new growth.
  • Take Root cuttings
    Propagate herbaceous plants such as oriental poppies and verbascum from root cuttings.
    Lift a plant or scrape away the soil to expose its roots.
    Cut roots into 5-10cm sections.
    Plant vertically in pots and put into a cold frame until they sprout.