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Christmas is over and the year ahead beckons. Out in the garden nothing much stirs, but there is plenty of preparation work to be done.

Garden maintenance and planning are the order of the short days ahead this month - and there is still plenty to do, if you can brave the weather..

Pot-grown rhubarb will give you your first welcome  taste of garden produce in the new year and provide a fresher and cheaper alternative to the high prices charged by supermarkets at this time of the year.




  1. Carry out repair jobs – fences, posts and rails

  2. A good time to paint or  treat any sheds, greenhouses, or wooden garden furniture that is looking neglected

  3. Even garden stakes and canes can have their lives prolonged with preservative  - just soak the soil-stained ends in a pot of preservative.

  4. Deal with slippery paths – clean up your paving

  5. Keep paths free from ice

  6. Aluminium furniture may benefit from a purposeful clean up with a wire brush and a repaint

  7. Keep an eye on patio containers for water

  8. Keep winter-flowering houseplants in a cool position in a good light, to prolong their flowering season.

  9. Keep plants on the dry side and in the best possible light.

  10. Bring in winter jasmine, daphnia, American current etc. to flower inside.

  11. Do not rush bulbs into light wait until the leaves and flowers can be seen.

  12. If you can, shred your Christmas tree and use if for mulch


  1. Plan your vegetable patch

  2. Lift and frost rhubarb crowns for forcing.

  3. Order your seeds online.

  4. Order seed potatoes this month.

  5. Box up seed potatoes with the rose end to the top.

  6. In mild areas sow broad beans.

  7. Chit your first early seed potatoes


  1. If pruning is necessary cut out dead wood in all types of fruit trees.

  2. Spray trees with tar oil winter wash.

  3. Check tree ties and plant supports for wear.

  4. Remove big buds on blackcurrants.


  1. Tidy borders and fork lightly between perennials.

  2. Plant lilies, antirrhinums etc.

  3. Sweet peas - Pinch out the tips of seedlings raised from autumn sowings to encourage side-shoots

  4. Check corms and tubers in store for signs of rot or deterioration. Remove diseased ones and sprinkle others with sulphur powder to prevent disease attack.

  5. Quick coffee and a session with the seed catalogue?

  6. Violas in cold frames need good ventilation.

  7. Continue planting bare-rooted roses. Avoid planting new roses where old ones have been removed, unless the soil is replaced and conditioned, to avoid diseases.

  8. Spray roses and surrounding soil with winter wash.


  1. This is a good time to move shrubs that are growing in the wrong place or those that have outgrown their position. Aim to lift established plants with as large a rootball as possible. Prepare the soil in the new planting hole well, digging compost deeply into it. Firm the soil around the transplanted shrub, and provide a stake for support if required. Water in well and mulch with bark or compost.

  2. Brush  any snow from evergreen shrubs and conifers, as the weight can weigh down and damage their branches.

  3. Check your frost protection on new or non-hardy shrubs.

  4. Mulch Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

  5. Prune wisteria


  1. Brush off dead leaves and twigs.

  2. Rake mossy and weedy areas.

  3. Service your mower  - or get someone else to do it  - before the spring rush begins

  4. Keep off the grass where possible - for best results this applies all year.


  1. Sow leeks, onions, carrots, lettuce.

  2. Sow annuals for early flowering.

  3. Clean and fumigate staging and pots.

  4. Move pot-grown peaches and nectarines under cover for winter. An unheated greenhouse is ideal. Keeping rain off these fruit trees prevents the spread of spores of peach leaf curl disease. It also protects their early flowers from frost.

  5. Take cuttings from late chrysanthemums.


  1.   Float a ball on the water to assist aeration in icy periods.

  2.   Keep water clear of debris.