Happy New Year to you all!
After such an incredibly unseasonably mild end to December and start to 2022, we could be forgiven for thinking that Spring was just around the corner! Sadly, I fear this is not the case and our real Winter has yet to arrive.
The upside of this is that we still have those bitterly cold days to look forward to, staying warm by the logburner or fire, while planning the projects in our garden for this year.
Many plants are likely to 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 any fleece or straw is still in place covering tender plants such as tree ferns.
Stop ponds and bird baths freezing over by leaving a tennis ball to float on the water.
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 Winter frosts. 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 all dead and diseased branches from established trees and shrubs. Winter prune Wisteria by cutting back all young shoots not required to within 3inches of the old wood. This will encourage new growth and 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 when the soil starts to warm up.
Your garden birds will really benefit from your help at this time of year, so ensure you put out a variety of foods and water to give them a great start to their nesting season.
January is also an appropriate time for tidying your garden for Spring and maintaining or 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.