3rd January 2019

January Top Garden Tips


This month in the Garden we are expecting snow so bater down the hatches and protect plants and trees which you think might be in trouble.  But it is definitely a little chilly with crispy frosts and blue days days accompanied by a dash into the garden to nab a bay leaf for the Beef Bourgeon or sweeping the straw kicked about by the birds in search of the ever evading worm.  But in the garden I did discover green tip emerging and a splash of colour coming through the straw, so spring is coming yahooo, well sort of.  So feed the birds, recycle your Christmas tree and enjoy not doing any jobs, there are plenty of excuses not too!! or you could do…


Cover tender plants with fleece or arrange sacking or straw to protect from the winter onslaught.

Plan your new boarder or dream garden…

Continue planting trees and shrubs, but not if it is freezing, no body likes frozen feet!!!

Check everything is still standing and tie in any stray branches or add supports.

In April we are running a Plant Support Workshop which is very exciting so check out the details

jan4_hazel&rhubarb_150x150jan5_vegedging_150x150Climbing support

Continue with pruning the wisteria, cut back side shoots to 2-3 buds.  The grapevine needs tidying up but don’t leave it too late as the sap will start to rise and it will bleed, saying that I have done it in march without problems.


And we are also running a Willow and wild Basket Workshop in May so keep your pruning.

Sow sweet peas this month if not already and hard wood cuttings like Cornus, Salix, rose, ribes, and deciduous climbers.  Leave protected in a cold frame ready to plant out come spring.

Leave faded herbaceous perennials until spring so they can continue to house winter bug homes.

Feed the birds – have a go or make your own bird feeder ball – add lard to double the amount of bird seed, mix together and squish into a cookie cutter, place a straw for the string hole within mix and place in fridge overnight.  Hang out side for the birds to enjoy

or build a bug house …..

Check out our new bug home.  All you need is a keen man and boy with a hammer.  A collection of things from pine cones, horse chestnuts, wood, chicken wire and a good amount of enthusiasm…. walaaaa….



It’s definitely easier to see what you are doing when there are no leaves so now would be a good time to prune the apple and pear trees that are grown in the open (not those trained against a wall).

Do not prune ornamental cherries and plums (stone fruit) as they are prone to silver leaf disease.

Now is the time to protect your peaches and nectarines against peach leaf curl – build yourself a polythene shelter.


Kale – Still growing strong is a great super food.  It is low in calories, high fibre plus more iron than beef, high in Vitamin K (which helps protect against cancers) plus a multitude of other good things so check out this months recipe for Kale Pesto 

Onion sets and seed potatoes are now available to buy, so get chitting…

A money saving tip  cut down your Autumn Fruiting Raspberry bushes to the base, then dig up and give a way or sell any extras.

Prune Red current bushes –  these plants are closely related to black currents but they grow more like gooseberries.   Red currents bear their fruit on old wood so prune new growth back to 2 buds.  Remove diseased or very old branches.  Plant them in well drained soil 1.5m between plants, fertilise and mulch.

Black Current bushes fruit on 2yr old wood, so only remove 1/3 of old wood to the base,  then fertiliser and mulch.


I have left my boarders with their tall grasses and majestic seed heads of various perennials to catch the sun and frosts, but the colours of Cornus sanguinea ‘mid winter fire’ and stipa tenuissima when planted together are fantastic. A blaze of oranges and reds with golds below.

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ – A beautiful shrub or tree as can grow up to 3meters but has stunning red winter shoots and good autumn foliage.

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’  – a great shrub with beautiful flowers from late autumn to spring which are highly scented.  Can grow to 3meters in sun or shade.

Snow Drops otherwise know as Galanthus.  All varieties are beautiful but buy ‘in the green’ so you can see the flower formation.  They are easily grown but prefer shade and bloom from late winter to mid spring.  Or bring inside and plant in a container for a wonderful winter display.