In this series of blog posts, we take a month-by-month look at garden maintenance. We’ll give you our top tips for maintaining your garden and advise you what will be in bloom and where your focus should be each month.
January Weather Watch
January is the coldest month in London. Throughout the month, the average temperature remains at 5-6°C, with little variation. January is a month of windy weather, sunshine in places, rainfall here and there and snow on the hills. In London snow is rare but occasionally seen in January. Although a light layer of snow can be good for your garden, as it helps kill unwanted pests, and protects plants from severe frost, it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecasts for heavy snowfall or sharp frosts as some plants need protection from the harsher winter weather. Conifers, for example, are prone to damage by heavy snowfall as the weight of the snow pushes their branches down.
January Garden Maintenance To Do List
Although temperatures drop in January, there are still plenty of opportunities to spend time in the garden and start getting ready for spring. So make the most of those crisp sunny days by wrapping up warm and getting started with your January garden to-do- list:
- Get to know your soil – January is a great time to test your soil’s PH levels and determine whether your soil is clay, sand or loam. Take a handful of soil and squeeze it tight in your palm. Clay soil clumps together, sandy soil feels dry/crumbly.
- Order new seeds, summer flowering bulbs and herbaceous perennials – Once you have a better understanding of your soil you can order flowers and plants for the year ahead. This is a very enjoyable job as you plan the garden’s colours, themes and patterns.
- Protect vulnerable plants – Pot-grown shrubs are more vulnerable to heavy frosts as their roots in the pots are above the ground. You can protect them by wrapping the pots with bubble wrap or hessian sacks for added insulation. You can also move pots closer together for added protection or if you have space bringing them indoors.
- Water container plants – Sometimes, plants growing at the base of house walls can miss out on vital rainfall, so it’s good to make sure they are getting plenty of moisture through the winter.
- Collect Decaying Leaves – It is best to compost decaying leaves rather than burn them as they can then contribute to the goodness of soil. Watch out for hedgehogs as you’re collecting the leaves as they could be hibernating in the leaves. It’s often better to trade in your rake for garden grippers to help protect our spiky friends.
- Spread organic matter – A great job to do even on the coldest of days. With frozen ground, you can easily manoeuvre the barrow to spread the matter on your soil. However, don’t walk or push the barrow over frozen grass or you’ll be left with yellow marks when the grass thaws out.
- Clean all your pots and seed trays for Spring sowing. – You’ll be thankful you did when Spring is here!
- Prune – Wisteria and other vigorous climbers.
- Hoe – any germinating weeds, again you’ll be glad you did by the time the spring and summer arrives.
- Finally, send the lawnmower off for servicing – so it’s ready for action for the year ahead.
If you stick to our top 10 garden maintenance tips for January you’ll be in good stead for the year ahead.
There’s still plenty to see and do in the garden this January. Here are some of the star plants you’ll see thriving at this time of year:
- Sarrococca hookeriana var. Digya (‘Christmas Box’)
- Erica carnea ‘Springwood White’ (‘Heather’)
- Skimmia japonica (‘Skimmia’)
- ‘Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ (‘Witch Hazel’)
- Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Barnard’ (‘Algerian Iris’)
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