January Gardening Tips from our Head of Horticulture

Matthew Peck - Head of Horticulture

Gardening lifts your mood – Matt’s January Notebook

As I start to wander around my garden with a hot cup of coffee, I can see the first signs of life emerging. Snowdrops have started to push their way through the soil, emerging as small yet mighty giants, while hellebores are heroically bursting into bloom amongst the flowering winter shrubs, such as witch hazel (Hamamelis), arrowwood ‘Dawn’ (viburnum x bodnantense) and sweet box (Sarcococca).

As gardeners we welcome in the new year and can reflect on all the successes, difficulties, and failures the past gardening season presented us. If nothing else, it gave us plenty of challenges, with a very late start to the season, and then a heatwave, and then rain on top of rain.

However, when moving into the new year there is lots that can be done. January is a great time to start tidying the shed, greenhouse, and storage areas, if you haven’t yet cleaned down the greenhouse then now would be a good time to give the glass a clean in and out, to allow good light levels in on these shorter days. We also recommend disinfecting benches and floors, as well as washing and disinfecting pots, trays, and other equipment ready for spring.

Matt Jan Notebook Greenhouse

I often find that the few hours I get to spend gardening in January, when the winter sunshine is bright and it’s calm and crisp, greatly lift my mood, and often my appetite for a hot drink and a piece of cake. It is a great time to prune my deciduous shrubs or roses, and to get those tidying jobs done that I didn’t have the time for before the festive season, getting everything that I can ready for the new year ahead.

While wandering my garden in the winter, I also make sure to keep my bird feeders filled, ensuring that my glorious, feathered friends have plenty of reasons to keep visiting, as they are a gardener’s friend and provide natural pest control all year round.

Winter gardening jobs

  • Bring your Christmas tree to Gates for recycling
  • Prune wisteria
  • Force rhubarb
  • Start chitting first early potatoes
  • Plant roses if the ground isn’t frozen
  • Protect delicate or more vulnerable plants with horticultural fleece
  • Prune climbing roses
  • Prepare new beds for planting
  • Make sure any heavy snow fall is removed from greenhouses, evergreen shrubs, conifers or bamboo, to avoid damage
  • Plant bare root hedging
  • Sharpen your garden tools
  • Order seeds for sowing this year

Matthew Peck – Gates Head of Horticulture

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