January/February garden jobs
Happy 2021! We’re now in the post-Christmas mid-winter lull that a lot of us dread. The grey, dark and cold days that seem to stretch on forever, with our heads down we carry on as best we can until the signs of spring appear and the renewed hopes of warm sunny days and new beginnings.
BUT, this year especially in the midst of the pandemic and all the restrictions we’ve faced, I would urge you to look
up and all around at the new shoots of growth that are visible NOW everywhere in nature, as even in the depths of winter life continues - albeit at a slower pace. The days are getting longer, beautiful winter flowering shrubs such as Japanese quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) continue to bloom, the stunning stems of dogwood (Cornus sp.) brighten up the dullest days, the white bobbing heads of snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) appear, the gorgeous array of hellebores are in their prime.
It’s a great time to be working on your garden, assessing what you have, what you’d like to see in the next year,
encouraging wildlife and getting a head start on sowing vegetable and flower seeds on a sunny windowsill. Here are
just a few of the jobs you can be getting on with over the next couple of months that will all help in developing your garden to its full potential this coming year.
Bare root planting: there’s still time to plant bare root trees, hedges, shrubs and roses to get them established well – it’s also really good value to buy bare root compared to pot grown, you get far more for your money.
Hellebores: if your hellebores are showing leaf black spots then cut these and older leaf stems away; it’s a good way of letting the shy flowers be seen.
Cut back perennials: as we get into February it’s time to cut back any perennials that you let overwinter for their seed heads, ready for the new shoots coming through in spring.
Prune fruit trees: cut out damaged/, diseased, congested and crossing branches to get more air and light into the crown and improve fruit production.
Move dormant plants: if you want to move any plants that are in their dormant phase, now is a good time to do that rearranging you were thinking about last summer.
Sow some hope, sow some seeds: hardy annuals like sweet peas and cornflowers can be sown on a sunny windowsill or in your greenhouse now, along with winter salad leaves for early cropping and repeated
harvesting. If you’ve got the space and a warm spot with no risk of frost you could get your tomatoes off to an early start too.
Plan for the spring: if it’s a really bleurgh day to be in the garden take the opportunity to kick back on your sofa with a warming cup of tea (or wine), leftover Christmas chocolates (I know, unlikely in my house too!)and browse the seed catalogues for inspiration. And don’t forget to get your orders in for seed potatoes, onions and garlic bulbs ready for planting in spring.
Make a bug hotel: another great rainy-day activity to get the kids involved in! Make a bug hotel to encourage those beneficial insects such as ladybirds (who love eating those aphid pests) into your garden. There are lots of easy to build examples available online.
Ask for advice: if you don’t really know where to start with your garden now is the perfect time to ask for help, whether it’s a garden consultation on how to manage what you have, a full re-design or anywhere in between, expert help can set you on the right path.
Enjoy wrapping up warmly and getting outdoors to appreciate all nature has to offer as it prepares, once again, to
dazzle us in spring. Verena.
Gardener V is a professionally qualified horticulturist offering garden appraisals, maintenance and planting design services in
Nottingham. Find out more at www.gardener-v.com
This article is part of a series written for the coming year as part of a promotional newsletter for Anna Hart - Exceptional Homes, a bespoke estate agency service in South Nottingham. Find out more about how Anna can help you sell your home at www.annasellshouses.co.uk