Now let’s start the New Year with a little recycling… Place your real Christmas trees in or besides your garden waste wheelie bin and the council will collect and recycle into green waste saving you a bonfire or trip to the local tip.

Garden Maintenance

Please remember that some plants need help surviving the winter, particularly if there is a prolonged spell of frozen ground or heavy snow.

Ensure that all pots and containers are either sat on bricks or pot feet, this will allow the air to circulate around the pot and will hopefully prevent your pots from cracking through frost damage.

Fleece all plants that you fear may be more susceptible to the cold, such as camellia, cordyline, palms, hebe, callistemon and leptospermum to name a few.

Check any pots that have been covered for watering frequently as they can easily dry out.

Gently knock any fallen snow from your plants, greenhouse and conservatories as heavy snow can cause plants to split and glass to break, pay particular attention to conifers and ceanothus.

Replace tree stakes and tighten ties if needed.

Apply rock salt to your pavements and pathways to avoid any accidents. Compacted snow is as lethal as ice.

If milder remove algae from patios and decking.

Try to avoid walking on lawns whilst frosty as the grass can easily be damaged, but keep an eye out for increased mole activity due to mating and nest building.

Pruning and Planting

Cut out dead and diseased branches from your apple and pear trees and apply a pruning seal to any large cuts.

Use a winter wash on your dormant trees, this is an ideal way of killing off any aphids that may be overwintering.

Prune back ornamental vines, ivies, and Virginia creepers away from gutters, windows and doors.

Start to force new growth of rhubarb by putting a tall pot over the plant, being in the dark will cause the stems to stretch giving you an earlier crop.

If the ground isn’t frosty and the weather is mild, plant some potted spring flowering bulbs to provide a bit of early season colour.

Primroses can also be dotted into tubs and baskets where gaps have appeared, these will soon be in full flower.

Watch out for mildew or black spot on pansies remove any effected leaves or badly effected plants.

Plant rose bushes but avoid replanting where old bushes have previously been.

Begonia tubors and seeds will need planting early and require heat to get them started and established. Don’t fret though if this is too daunting as we have both varieties available as bedding plants during April and May.

Greenhouse and Houseplants

Check heaters are functioning properly and the bubble polythene in your greenhouse is intact.

Make sure that outdoor taps have lagging of either hessian or bubble wrap and that hose pipes are drained of water.

Avoid leaving houseplants on window sills overnight especially if they are not double glazed.

Put any bulbs used indoors during Christmas outside in a sheltered spot and allow them to die down naturally.

Birds and Ponds

Give a fresh supply of water to garden birds daily. Put a small ball into your birdbath or pond to prevent the whole surface from freezing over.

Feed birds with high energy feeds such as mealworm and suet treats along with favourites like peanuts and sunflower hearts.

Do not crack the ice in your pond as this can be harmful to your fish

Plant of the Month

Snowdrops – Galanthus. The popular bulb can be seen emerging from the ground as early as November but seeing them in the New Year gives the garden some cheer. Snowdrops clump form from bulbs planted in the autumn, you can buy ‘in the green’ now but this is an expensive way of buying them! So remember to buy and plant your bulbs in September in readiness for flowers next winter. Choose the native British variety such as the single flowered Nivalis, there are more unusual double flowered varieties available too.

Monthly suggestion

Plan your vegetable plot for the coming season making sure you rotate the crops from where they were positioned last year. Buy your seeds and seed potatoes along with seed trays, cell inserts, vermiculite and perlite. By purchasing early you can benefit from the promotional prices that we have on the “must have” products like bonemeal, growmore and  pelleted poultry manure.

Remember every day that passes means we are nearer to spring and the nights are gradually drawing out, so keep yourselves busy planning for the season ahead and stay warm…!

Happy Gardening