If you’re a keen gardener and can’t wait until spring to get back to your plants, the good news is that there’s plenty you can do in your garden – even at the height of winter.
Admittedly, this isn’t the time of year to start planting your favourite flowers because few of them can survive the chill but the one aspect of gardening that’s very important during winter, is maintenance.
Plan your spring garden
This is a great time to start looking through like Gardeners World (https://www.gardenersworld.com/) for some design inspiration. Whether you’re hoping to change things up a bit, add a new water feature or start growing your own vegetables, this is the time to start planning what you’re going to do as well as learn how to look after your new arrangements.
If all the planning has got you itching to get out in the garden, you can start planting bare root trees, fruit bushes and hedges at this time of year.
Grow your own food
Your garden is bound to look bare throughout the winter months but you can brighten the place up by filling it with winter vegetables. You can sow salad leaves, bulb onions, sprouting seeds and greenhouse tomatoes in January and artichokes, brussel sprouts, winter cabbage, carrots and leaks can all be harvested this month too.
Now that all the leaves have fallen, this is a great time to get all your maintenance done. Some great ideas include:
1. Rake up any leaves (don’t forget those which have blown under bushes and hedges)
2. Remove any dirt or grime from the roof of your greenhouse so more light can enter
3. Empty and clean water-butts, clean out trays and pots, give tools a good wipe and get any equipment such as your lawnmower serviced
4. Raise any planted patio pots you have off the ground to improve drainage and reduce waterlogging. If there’s a particularly cold spell, it’s also a good idea to move them to a sheltered area
Even at this time of year, sowings can be made of antirrhinum, begonia, geranium, gloxinia, lobelia, sweet pea and verbena. Some perennial plants including anemone, auricular, aquilegia, hollyhock and kniphofia can also be sown in January.
Why not start preparing some window boxes which will look great once spring comes around? As well as adding some colour to your property, they can also help to make your window shutters look even more stunning.
Protect trees and shrubs
Another part of winter maintenance is protecting trees and shrubs. You can do this by:
1. Erecting a shelter to protect them from the wind
2. Moving container shrubs into a cold greenhouse. If you don’t have one, a cold frame or even bubble plastic and plant jackets can be wrapped around pots to provide extra protection
3. Installing fleece or netting to protect vulnerable plants from frost
4. Checking tree ties and stakes for loosening
5. Using wire netting to protect seedbeds, pots and trays from damage caused by squirrels who are very much active at this time of year
For more advice about looking after your garden during winter, the Royal Horticultural Society (https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/january) provides monthly gardening tips and advice so you can ensure your garden looks great all year round.