The New Year’s arrived, and whatever the weather, there’s always something to do in the garden.
Celebrate the new year by planting a new tree or shrub! Winter’s a great time to plant trees and shrubs, provided the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.
When working in the garden, watch out for any first bulbs such as early daffodils and snowdrops as they start to come up.
To help soil retain moisture and improve soil structure, mulch borders and vegetable beds with a thick layer of well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost. It will also help it to drain better in wet weather.
Check any stored bulbs you might have such as tulips, dahlias and begonias to ensure they aren’t drying out or rotting.
Prune wisteria, cutting back last summer’s shoots to 2-3 buds from the main woody framework. Give it a few months and you’ll be in for a fantastic display of fragrant flowers.
Prune shrub roses, removing all dead, damaged and spindly growth, then cutting branches back by a third just above an outward-facing bud. Use sharp secateurs and make cuts that slope away from the bud so rainwater will run off the cut.
Prune apple and pear trees, soft fruit like blackcurrants, gooseberries and redcurrants.
Cut back any soggy-looking perennials that have died back and clear away leaves from beds, as they can be a harbour for slugs and snails over winter.
Cut back old hellebore leaves. This makes the flowers easier to see and reduces the spread of hellebore leaf spots, a fungal disease.
If you are thinking about sowing early peas, prepare the soil now by laying fleece, black plastic or cloches over the ground to warm it up.
Force some early rhubarb by putting a bucket over the plant’s crown. This encourages the growth of delicious tender pink stems.
Microgreens can be grown on a sunny windowsill to give you a taste of fresh salad while you wait for spring to arrive.
Birds need plenty of food to keep warm at this time of year, so top up bird feeders with sunflower seeds, suet balls and other high-energy foods. Ensure there’s clean water in bowls or birdbaths for birds to drink and wash their feathers and break any ice that has formed overnight.
Get your tools in order while you have some time to spare. Sharpen lawnmowers and secateurs, and clean out old pots ready for seed sowing in spring.
Your last job for January – visit Brick Kiln to stock up on all your gardening essentials. We’re always happy to help and you’ll find everything you need in store.