Keep bird feeders out and filled during this month. It is very important particularly during this very cold spell.
Make sure you dispose of your Christmas tree correctly. Your local Garden Centre may take them back and mulch them. We will certainly take them back though we are not open until next week, however feel free to leave them at the gate.
Remove any decaying leaves and place them in compost bin or compost heap after this very cold snap has passed. Pay particular attention to leaves collecting on Herbaceous plants and alpines as these plants can rot under the damp of too many leaves.
Also make sure that no leaves are left on the lawn as this will cut out light and oxygen to the grass underneath and lead to damage to the grass.
Improve your soil by incorporating a layer of organic matter or homemade compost or both. Quite simply spread it on top of your existing beds around the base of shrubs and trees and crowns of Herbaceous plants.
Keep an eye on all frost tender plants in the garden. Use Horticultural fleece to protect plants where necessary. Top up on mulches (bark, gravel or other) now to protect the roots from frost and to prevent weed growth during the spring and summer.
Move any trees and shrubs after this very cold period that may be in the wrong position. With mature plants this can be very difficult and comes with inherent risks. Remove as much as the rootball as possible. Prune the plant that you are moving by about 30 % to counteract any root damage caused by the move.
Bare root and rootballed trees, shrubs and hedges can all be planted this month. Use plenty of good soil/compost and organic matter when planting. You may need to protect from wind and or rabbits so take whatever precautions necessary. Use a windbreak or rabbit guards.
Many established deciduous trees shrubs and hedges can be pruned this month.
Cut back Climbing plants such as Ivy, Boston Ivy, Climbing Hydrangea summer Jasmine and Ornamental Vines this month. Pay particular attention to growth heading towards gutters, windows, loose slates etc as these plants can cause damage. Wisterias should have had their side shoots reduced to about 6 –7 buds from the main stem during the summer. This month these shoots should be further reduced to about two buds now. This will help promote flowers during late spring/summer.
Herbaceous perennials can be divided this month, again wait for the ground to thaw out.
Take hardwood cuttings now from suitable hosts. These cuttings should be roughly pencil thickness and about 8 inches in length. Cornus, Salix, Populus, Buddleja, Hydrangeas and roses are good subjects. The base of te cutting should be cut right at a node and the top of the cutting should be just above a node.
Order summer flowering bulbs and seeds now. See gardening online for varieties. Some annual plants can be started from seed this month inside.
Winter bedding plants such as Pansies, Cyclamen and Polyanthus should be constantly deadheaded this month to promote more flowers. If you have a pond that is frozen make sure to break some of the ice to allow oxygen in for any fish or wildlife.
Some Vegetable plants can be started from seed this month inside.
Complete winter digging of vegetable beds. Dig over the beds as soon as possible to allow the winter weather work on breaking down clods of earth. Improve your soil by incorporating a layer of organic matter or homemade compost or both. Plan your crop rotation for the next 12 months.
Continue to harvest Brussels sprouts, leeks, parsnips, Swedes and turnips. Continue to winter prune apples, pears and currants.
Prune and winter train Raspberries and Ornamental Vines.
Force Rhubarb for tender young shoots in early spring.
Check Heaters are working properly Check insulation is ok. Clean the Glasshouse inside and out. Cleaning the glass is very important as light levels can be severely reduced by dirty glass. Use a disinfectant such as Armillatox when cleaning. This will help protect against a number of fungal problems in the glasshouse.
Keep an eye out for any signs of pests and diseases, particularly vine weevil as the larvae can be active all year in a heated glasshouse.
Plants to look out for in January
Early flowering Camellias and Rhododendrons.
Helleborus niger and orientalis (Christmas and Lenten Rose)
Hammamelis varieties (Witch Hazel)
Sarcoccoca (Christmas Box)
Winter flowering Prunus (Cherry blossom).
Acer varieties (Maples) with good stems.
Iris stylosa/ungulcularis (Winter flowering Iris).
Winter Flowering Heathers