Happy New Year!
January may seem like deep Winter, when staying warm by the logburner or fire holds more appeal that getting out in the garden however, weather permitting, there is a lot which can be done in your garden this month.
Plants will need protection and maintenance at this time of year. Brush any snow from evergreens and conifers to stop the branches from being weighed down and breaking.
If wet weather has made ornamental grasses fall flat, start cutting these back to give them a fresh start. Check fleece and straw is still covering tender plants such as tree ferns.
Clearing, Weeding & Mulching
Remove any remaining dead top foliage from non-shrubby plants, fork over the soil between plants, burying any weeds. If feasible, continue digging heavy soils to be broken down by frost.
After plenty of rain, start mulching beds and borders with leaf mould, manure, compost or shredded bark – a layer 5-10cm deep is ideal.
Thin out dead and diseased branches from established trees and shrubs. Winter prune Wisteria by cutting back – to within 3inches of the old wood – all young shoots not required. This will increase the size of your plant.
Feed new plantings in late January with slow-release fertiliser such as Blood, Fish and Bone, but leave the application of faster-acting fertilisers such as Growmore until early March.
Wildlife also will benefit from your help at the beginning of the year. Put out various foods and water in your garden for hungry and thirsty birds. Stop ponds and bird baths freezing over by leaving a tennis ball to bob on top of the water.
January is also an appropriate time for tidying your garden and maintaining and repairing your garden furniture and decking. Tidy up the garden shed, cleaning, sharpening and oiling your gardening tools ready for action.
Recycle cut trees by shredding them for mulch or compost. Repair and stain or paint fences, pergolas and wooden furniture if weather conditions permit. Scrub slippery garden decking and paving with hot soapy water, or apply path and patio cleaner. On dry sunny days ventilate greenhouses and conservatories and wash the greenhouse glass to let in more light.
These tips were kindly contributed by local resident Cara MacColl