January in the Garden 2020
Thursday, 9 January 2020 | Alison
It’s a new year and a new decade. 2020 has arrived and there is a gentle hint of spring to come, with the tips of spring bulbs peeping through the soil and hellebores and snowdrops beginning to take centre stage in the borders.
If, like me, you had a nasty bout of flu during December, then yours and my garden need some TLC, so wrap up warm and get into the outdoors. Even half an hour a day can make all the difference. I think the key is to do little and often in the winter months and as you see jobs that need doing, jot them down (keep a pen and pad handy). Do not try and tackle it all in one go. All you will do is exhaust yourself, and pull a muscle.
Brookside Nursery Top Gardening Tips for January
PICK A BUNCH OF WINTER COLOUR – Once the Christmas decorations are put away for another year the house can seem a little bare. Neater, but bare. To counter balance this and bring some winter freshness inside, take a walk around the garden and with secateurs in hand, pick a bunch of whatever is looking good in January. My selection, pictured here, has quite a bit of greenery including fern leaves, bay, variegated pittosporum, euphorbia, red leaves of jasmine, rosemary and I found a few hellebore blooms and a Schizostylis that was in flower. I then added seed head stems of day lilies. So all in all a mix that looks very attractive and with a lightly scented aroma of freshness.
VISIT A GARDEN NURSERY - See what is looking good this month and if you have been lucky enough to receive some gardening vouchers for Christmas spend them on a lovely plant or two that you know will then be either in flower or is evergreen, to give colour this time next year. Hammamelis, star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), unusual leafed ferns, pittosporum and euphorbia are all good choices.
PRUNING IN THE WINTER MONTHS - The best time to prune fruit trees and deciduous shrubs and hedges is in winter. They are dormant, the leaves will have fallen and you can easily see which bits may need reshaping, cutting back all together or removing any dead or diseased branches or stems.
GRAPEVINES – Grapevines are vigorous growers and will need a good prune now before the sap begins to rise again for the new season’s growth. As a general rule of thumb, cut back all the old side shoots to two buds from the main stem.
WISTERIA - Another climber that can cause concern on when and how to prune is the climber wisteria. If yours is a well-established plant then do not be afraid to cut it back hard by pruning the side shoots back to just a few buds per stem, but keeping the framework.
SWEET PEAS - Check your autumn sowings of sweet peas. I have some growing in my unheated greenhouse and they were ok but one pot has been decimated by slugs that seem to think I have grown them a tasty treat! I have sown some more now to get another batch going so they will catch up I hope.
VEGETABLE SEEDS - to sow in January are broad beans; Bunyards Exhibition is a good one, onion bulbs can also be planted and try an indoor crop of lettuce or salad leaves from seed. They will grow quickly and provide you with the makings of a healthy salad.
TIDY BORDERS - On fine days it is worth doing some clearing in the borders. Fork over gaps between plants and shrubs, removing perennial weeds. The mild winter so far has encouraged unwanted weeds to grow such as dandelions and grass tufts.
EDGING AND MOWING - Using an edging spade, redefine any border edges that have merged with the soil or where grass has grown over pathway or paving edges. This will instantly give your garden a lift and make it look neater. The finishing touch is to mow the lawn. It may seem a bit odd doing it in January but with temperatures being mild so far this season, the grass has grown. Raise the height of the cutting blade as all you want to do is take off the very top blades of grass to give a clear appearance.
Right, I am off down the garden to check my borders for weeds and see if I can catch that slug eating my sweet pea shoots.