Updated: Jan 15
The cold of January can often keep us snuggled up inside in the warmth.
If the days are crisp and clear it is invigorating to wrap up in hats and scarves and wander out into a nearby woodland for a bimble in the cold, fresh air. If you would prefer to stay a little closer to home you can simply make your way out into the garden and take care of some of those January gardening jobs. There is always something to do and it is so important in the cold winter months to make the most of the fresh, outdoor air whenever possible.
1. If you haven't already done so, make sure that your shed and greenhouse are clean and tidy and that your pots are sorted and stacked and ready for the year ahead. Summer can be such a rush and we are often left with a little bit of tidying up to do at the end of the growing season.
2. Sort through your seed packets and plan your vegetable garden (and any other seed sowing you may need to do) for the year ahead. Make a list of what you want to grow and order or source (seed swaps?) seeds now so that they are ready to be planted when you need them.
3. Prune apple and pear trees (if you are lucky enough to have one). If you have a fireplace or log burner keep the pruned lengths to use as kindling. If you don't have a fireplace or log burner then think about mulching to re-use on your garden beds.
4. Look after your garden wildlife. Put seeds and scraps out for birds (old rice, bread crumbs, bacon rinds) and think about building a nest box to site somewhere in your garden for the nesting season ahead. Both the RSPB and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust have some helpful guides on what to do when for garden wildlife in the garden.
5. Take stock of your current garden layout and, if the weather is mild, move any shrubs or herbaceous plants that you think may benefit from being moved to a different location (a garden constantly evolves and grows). Don't undertake this task if the ground is frozen.
6. Prune hedges (always check for birds first), taking care not to cut away any berries that may be a food source for wildlife (if a hedge is still full of berries perhaps wait until the birds have had their fill and then prune).
7. If you are planning on adding any trees, shrubs or hedging to your garden – now is the best time for planting (while trees and shrubs are in their dormant state). Once again, take care to plant in milder conditions and definitely don't plant if the ground is frozen.
8. Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs, climbers and fruit trees. To check exactly what plants are suitable for hardwood cuttings have a look at the Royal Horticultural Society advice here.
9. If you have a pond or a birdbath, keep an eye on it to ensure that the surface does not freeze over.
10. Check outdoor potted plants to ensure that the compost remains moist. Protect plants from frosts where necessary.
If you aren't sure what your garden needs and want some expert gardening advice, get in touch with Emma Reuvers at Wild Edge Garden Design.