January Gardening Tips

Reasons to be Cheerful

The shortest day has been and gone and the daily period of light has, almost imperceptibly, increased.  The infra-red wavelengths penetrate the soil and activate enzymes, via chemicals called phytochromes, that start seeds and dormant plants growing.

Witch hazel, Sarcococca, Daphne odora and mahonia are just some of the scented lowers you can enjoy now.  Wintergreen ferns give a wonderful textured foliage effect in sheltered shady spots, so do the leaves of Cyclamen hederafolia and Pulmonaria.  Cyclamen coum flowers in early spring and combines well with winter aconites or snowdrops. (The peak flowering time for most snowdrops is February, but varieties like Galanthus elwessii, G.nivalis and G.woronowii are earlier.)

Cyclamen

Jobs to do

Kitchen garden Prune gooseberries, red and white currants to maintain an open centred bush with 8 – 10 main branches – this avoids mildew. Prune last year’s growth by half.  Finish winter pruning of fruit trees (except plums and cherries).  Continue harvesting winter vegetables like parsnips and Brussels sprouts.

Ornamental garden Start pruning wisteria.  The current season’s growth, tamed in July, should be cut back to 2-3 buds from old wood.  If the old wood is tangled or overgrown, cut it back to a fork or side branch, maybe back to ground level.

Start cutting old leaves from ornamental grasses to make room for new growth. Also cut off old leaves on hellebores to expose the flowers, unless grown for foliage effect.

Prune winter jasmine when the flowers fade.

Iris unguiculata

Plant deciduous hedges like beech, hornbeam, blackthorn and hawthorn.

Indoors (more…)