Monthly Gardening Tips - January 2022

I have spent most of my life working outdoors for a living, gardening. When its cold, wet and windy there isnít a lot of incentive to go into your garden. My best advice is to check the forecast, dress for the weather, and choose a fine day. But Nature doesn't wait, so don't procrastinate too long!

January is an ideal time to rewire walls and fences on which to tie in climbers, vines, fruit trees and indeed, the many plants that respond to such treatment. There are myriad ways to provide fixings- with vine eyes, lead headed wall nails, screw-in eyes, clout nails etc. depending on your supports. Having removed your plants from their support and re-wired, they are best re-tied to wires with green or brown garden string. Plastic or wire tends to eat into the bark as stems enlarge. However, if you have thick branches/stems they may be better supported by using thick wire with a piece of hosepipe threaded through it.

Deciduous growth has ripened by now, and can usually be bent into position as required. But avoid frosty days when branches may be brittle. Whist many evergreens are also best trained in at this time of year their pruning should be carried out in March/April. Prune bush roses during January too.

Other winter work will include tidying scruffy herbaceous plants such as Day lillies - Hemerocallis; Paeonias; Ice plants - Hilotelephium spectabile (previously Sedum;) Michaelmas daisies; Verbena bonariensis; and Catmint - Nepeta. Lightly rake through with a springbok type rake then lighty fork or hoe through your borders to avoid compaction.This prevents smaller plants getting smothered with autumn leaves. If you haven't yet done so, spread compost between plants.

Writing this in late December I popped out for a short break to photograph some winter colour to cheer you up! The days are getting longer too now. Look on the bright side!!

Winter flowering Cherry. Prunus x subhirtella Autumnalis Prunus x subhirtella Autumnalis

Beauty berry. Callicarpa bodinieriBeauty berry. Callicarpa bodinieri
Tree Germander. Teucrium fruticansTree Germander. Teucrium fruticans
Skimmia japonicaSkimmia japonica
Viburnum tinusViburnum tinus
Winter jasmine. Jasminum nudiflorumWinter jasmine. Jasminum nudiflorum
Abelia grandfloraAbelia grandflora
Butcherís Broom. Ruscus aculeatusButcherís Broom. Ruscus aculeatus
Fatsia japonicaFatsia japonica

Richard Ward