January is a great time to start off your gardening year!

Most plants are dormant over the winter months which means it is the perfect time to put new plants into the ground where they can get their roots established ready for when top growth starts later in the year. Provided it is not too frosty you can plant new ornamental & fruit trees, shrubs, roses, and soft fruit into your garden. It is also a good time to move any of your existing plants into a new position while they are dormant if they need a better spot, or you just want to change up your garden design.

Now is also the time to start planning what you want to grow this year, some plants can be started from seed this month in a heated propagator like Chillies or in a cold frame like Sweet Peas. It is good to have a general garden tidy and clean, sweep up fallen leaves and wash out empty pots to reduce any pests and diseases that might hide over the winter. Don’t forget to keep feeding birds high energy food and fresh water in your bird baths to keep them going through the winter months.

Plant bare-root roses, shrubs, hedging and fruit & ornamental trees while they are dormant avoiding any periods of frosty weather.

Keep deadheading any winter bedding to keep them flowering and remove any browning leaves to stop rot from downy mildew.

Plant up pots of bulbs to enjoy their spring flowers later in your borders or containers. Mix different varieties together to create months of colour.

Plan your sowing for the year, buy new seeds for later in the year and clean tools and trays ready for the growing season. Some varieties can be started now.

Feed birds with high energy food over the winter months, regularly cleaning feeders and providing fresh water in bird baths and add warm water in frosty weather to clear ice.

Things to do in January

  • Rose bushes can be pruned now and bare root roses can be planted.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses now to just a couple of inches from the ground.
  • Deadhead your pansies and violas
  • Protect plants from frost with a Cloche or mulch
  • Start chitting early potatoes now

Plant of the month

Hedera (Ivy)

Helix varieties are a good choice for the wildlife garden because they attract a large range of insects.

The leaves give shelter to overwintering butterflies and food for emerging caterpillars. The plant provides nesting sites for wrens, sparrows and blackbirds. The berries are eaten by resident birds and winter visitors. Autumn flowers supply nectar for hoverflies, holly blue and tortoiseshell butterflies.

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