It’s January. Dark days, dreary weather. But don’t be fooled! We’ve turned the corner of the year and now we can look forward to the light and the gardening days ahead. And what better way to begin than by…

Sowing seeds…

Sweet peas that were sown in the autumn can be potted on and put in a relatively warm, light position. You can also sow new batches of sweet peas.

Seeds that need frost to germinate, like our native tree species, need to be sown this month before temperatures rise again.

You can now also sow salivia, pelargonium and begonia.

Don’t forget seed potatoes – now is the time to start chitting potatoes.

Cutting back…

Cut back grasses that have been left over the winter. Continue to divide herbaceous perennials to create more plants and revive old specimens, before the weather warms.

If you haven’t done so already prune back shrub roses to just above a bud, to open the structure of the plant, increase vigourous growth and remove dead or diseased wood.

Cut back sedums, but be careful not to damage new growth at the base.

Cut back colourful dogwood and willow stems to encourage bright, new stems next season.

Tidying up…

There’s been a fair bit of blustery weather this winter, so keep sweeping up leaves, branches and debris.

Keep harvesting brassicas and remove yellowing leaves to avoid disease.

Clean any pots and trays ready for use in the spring.

Dig over any plots that you want to cultivate ready for planting as the weather warms.

If you have a real tree then take it to the council to be shredded for compost.

Keep pots free from debris and keep deadheading winter pansies.

Sweep worm casts away from the lawn and flatten out mole hills before re-seeding.

Remove hellebore leaves that show signs of leaf spot.

Planning ahead…

Now is a good time to plant fruit bushes, as well as new raspberry canes when the soil allows.

Think about planning your crop rotation and succession in your vegetable garden and order plants and seeds now while stocks are plentiful. Consider planting heritage or unusual varieties not easily available in the shops.

Take a clear look at the garden as a whole and plan what jobs can be done before the growing season – repairing fences, cleaning patios, moving dormant shrubs etc.

Whatever you do in January, enjoy the season and may we wish you a happy and healthy new year in your garden.