The cold is upon us but that should not deter us from our gardens, but inspire us to go out into the garden and begin preparation for the season ahead.
January brings the arrival of some interest with snowdrops and aconites the early signs of winter changing, with flowering Helleborous and Viburnum Davidii to add a splash of colour in the greyest of months.
Jobs and Tips
During this month we have been clearing the last of the fallen leaves from flower beds, hard pruning some shrubs, collecting fallen deadwood from trees and weeding those beds we all leave!?.
Jobs that can be done now include, cleaning all your hand tools, servicing those petrol mowers and strimmers, planting bare root roses and seed sowing in your green houses or lean to’s with antirrhinums, geraniums or begonias.
For the vegetable and fruit gardener, continue planting raspberry and cane fruits. The digging of a deep runner bean trench left open to be filled with rotted compost and kitchen waste till early spring, then covered and beans sown.
Finally a check of tree ties and staking is perfect winter work, and checking that frost protection is on our more fragile plants.
February is when the season begins with the arrival of crocus in bloom and, later in the month, the first daffodils with their stunning yellow flower to welcome Spring.
Jobs going forward include continuing to hard pruning roses just as the temperatures rise in late February and pruning of late/autumn flowering Clematis. Clematis fall into different varieties and it is good to know and remember when yours flowers. If it flowers in Spring then you mustn’t touch it now as it is flowering on last years growth. Prune it back after it has finished flowering – usually by mid to late Spring!
The other Clematis varieties are happy to be pruned at this time of year although if it is a Early & Late Summer flowering variety it can also be cut back after it has finished its first flush of flowers. These varieties can also be left and only hard pruned every 2-3 years, however following a hard prune they will only flower once the following year.