Plants And Jobs In January Garden – Now that Christmas is over, us gardeners are resigned to a couple of months of dark cold days when the garden looks very sparse, before new plants and shoots begin to appear. However, there is always something you can do in January, even if it’s indoors. Take stock of your January garden and do some planning for the year ahead. Look through seed and plant catalogues. Sketch out a plan for this year’s vegetable patch and decide what you will grow. Outdoors, now is a good time to get on with a bit of garden maintenance while shrubs are bare and borders have died down and you can see clearly what needs to be done.
Plants of interest in January garden
January is the time to appreciate the bare shape of trees against a wintery sky, the colored stems of shrubs and the exuberant colors of evergreens. Birch trees can be large or small, but all have the most amazing bark. The common silver birch (Betula pendula) has pure white bark that takes on an almost silvery hue in the winter sunshine. These trees are easy to grow and thrive in both sun and light shade. Dogwoods have some of the most colorful stems of any shrub and are at their best at this time of year. Choose the bright red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ or the flame orange stems of Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’. Winter jasmine provides some winter cheer with its bright yellow flowers, as does mahonia. Also, Witch hazel is a lovely sight in winter with its citrus-scented, spidery flowers. Other plants at their best at this time of year include hellebores or Christmas rose, crocus, cyclamen and of course, the snow drop.
January garden jobs
If you haven’t already done your winter digging yet and the soil is not too wet, then now is the time. Incorporate compost or manure to improve the texture. Turn your compost heap. Look out for any wind damage to shrubs and trees. Remove any damaged branches and prune back. Plant deciduous hedges, bare rooted trees and shrubs. You can also plant roses if the soil is not too cold or wet.
Carry out repair jobs such as repairing broken fence panels, and treat and repair outdoor timber such as sheds and wooden garden furniture. Garden tools are essential for good garden maintenance, so now is the time to make sure they get a good clean and sharpen. Clean out the January garden shed and reorganize your storage space. Although your lawn may not be growing at the moment, a good tip at this time of year is to keep off the grass as much as possible. If you don’t and you continue to run your barrow over it or walk the same path to the garden shed, you will wear out the grass and leave muddy tracks.
You may be forgiven for assuming that you don’t need to pay much attention to your patio outdoor planters at this time of year. Although they don’t need daily attention, they may still need the occasional bit of water, especially those that live up against the side of the house or sheltered under trees or overhangs such as porches – once a week should be enough. They will also need protection from frost. Move containers up against a wall if a cold snap is forecast. If colder weather threatens, wrap containers in bubble wrap and the plants in horticultural fleece to stop the lot from freezing solid.
There are also jobs to be done in the greenhouse. Check any plants overwintering in the greenhouse and remove any dead leaves. Water greenhouse plants very sparingly during winter months. Clean and tidy pots and seed trays in readiness for the spring. To help keep pots and seed trays stay disinfected, place them in a plastic carrier bag and knot the top.
A final job which needs your attention at the start of the New Year is the discarded Christmas tree. If you had a real live tree in a pot, place it in a sheltered spot in the garden to carry on growing until it’s time to bring it in again for next Christmas. If you had a real tree but without roots, don’t leave it to rot on the compost heap – cut up the branches and trunk for use in a wood burning stove. If you don’t have a real fire then take the tree to a local council tip where it can be shredded and recycled.