Gardening at this time of the year can be a chore, but getting started now will pay dividends later in the year. Look around the garden and you can see nature waking up with bulbs appearing and buds swelling.
Complete the pruning of the fruit trees, i.e. apples and pears to improve the crops size, quality and yield. Cut back autumn fruiting raspberries canes to 15cm above the ground and take the tops out of summer fruiting ones.
Trees and Shrubs
Plant bare root trees and shrubs, keep fragile trees and hedges clear of snow to prevent damage. Prune hard back summer flowering clematis
This is a good time to move plants which have out grown their present site and location. In mild areas clump forming perennials can be divided and replanted with fresh organic matter.
Roses, winter Jasmine and winter flowering heathers (Erica’s and Calluna’s) should be pruned towards the end of the month. Plant lilies and crocosmia divide and replant snowdrops (Galanthus) whilst still green. Encourage longer lasting winter flowering bedding blooms by dead heading.
If drainage is poor aerate the lawn by pricking the ground with a fork to a depth of 15cm. Then brush sharp sand into the holes. If the weather permits give the lawn a light mow towards the end of the month.
Now is the time to tidy ponds of fallen leaves, over crowded oxygenated plants and look to invest in new aquatic plants. Finding out what is suitable.
Organic Matter (mulching)
Mulching should be done how before plants get to big. A thick layer of organic matter should be applied up to 5cm to 7cm. Bulbs and newly emerging perennials will grow through it. Be aware of dwarf growing bulbs which may be in flower.
Your pots and trays should be cleaned /washed using hot soapy water. This is important as dirty pots harbour pests and diseases.
It’s a good time to sit down and go through the seed catalogues, ordering your seeds for spring planting.
Covering soil with clear polythene will help to keep of heavy rain enabling you to keep the soil dry and workable. This will be particularly prelevant on heavy or clay soils. The polythene will also warm the soil up by as much as 2oC enabling you to plant and sow a lot earlier.