What to do in your garden in January

The weather patterns of recent winters prove that you just can’t rely on the British weather when it comes to gardening.


The weather patterns of recent winters prove that you just can’t rely on the British weather when it comes to gardening. We’ve had the coldest, the wettest and the mildest, all of which affect how your plants grow and survive. So, always heed the gardening Scout motto – be prepared – for anything! Make the most of any mild and dry weather and get on with as many jobs as possible before the rush in spring.

Discover the LovetheGarden Calendar

Things to do this month

  • Walk your garden to see which plants are in flower - there are often some surprises!
  • Insulate outdoor containers from frost - bubblewrap works well.
  • Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging if you haven’t already done it.
  • Start buying seeds for sowing this year, so you can plan this year’s displays.
  • Use a wooden plank if you need to walk on heavy clay soils when they’re wet or frozen to help spread your weight.
  • Keep deadheading winter-flowering pansies to ensure they flower during mild weather.
  • Keep feeding wild birds with high-energy bird foods to keep up their strength through the winter.
  • Make sure wild birds have access to unfrozen water to drink and bathe in.
  • You can still move deciduous small trees, shrubs and climbers growing in the wrong place.
  • Clean old pots and seed trays, so that they’re ready for seed sowing in spring.
  • Take root cuttings of Acanthus, Anemone hybrida, Eryngium, Oriental poppies and Verbascum.
  • Plant new hardy trees, shrubs, climbers, roses and herbaceous providing the soil isn’t frozen solid or waterlogged.
  • If you want an early crop of strawberries, place cloches over the plants.
  • Sow onion seeds in a heated propagator for an early crop.
  • Start chitting seed potatoes of earlies to produce a bigger, better crop.
  • Make a bean trench and fill it with kitchen vegetable waste, torn up newspaper, weeds and similar materials.
  • Give wisterias their winter prune - cutting back sideshoots to 2.5-5cm (1-2in) long.
  • Melt an area of ice on frozen ponds to allow fish to breathe.
  • Check your mower blade and either replace it with a new one or have it sharpened.
  • Stay off the lawn when it’s frozen or you could damage the grass and leave brown footprint marks.
  • Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem.
  • On mild days, treat fences and other wooden structures with a wood preservative.
  • Cover wall-trained peaches with a ‘tent’ of polythene to protect against peach leaf curl disease.
  • Use a weed-control membrane when planting up new beds to help keep them weed free.