Although the days are short and the weather inclement at this time of the year, Nathan James Dodd finds that there are still plenty of jobs to do in the garden during January.
One of the most useful ways to start the New Year is to shred your Christmas tree, the needles will provide an acid rich mulch for blueberries, rhododendrons, azaleas, and hydrangeas.
Check the ties around trees, shrubs and climbers to see if they have survived the autumn gales, and that any protection around tender plants is still in place.
Look in your garage or shed to see whether Dahlia and Begonia tubers are still in good order and not rotting or drying out.
Apple and pear trees need to be pruned when they are dormant, removing dead, diseased and overcrowded branches. Deciduous trees and hedges can also be pruned but leave cherries, plums and evergreens until the spring.
Cut the canes of autumn fruiting raspberries to the base. Remove about a quarter to a third of the oldest blackcurrant stems. Shorten the stems from last year's growth on gooseberries, white and redcurrants by about a half, cut back the small shoots that have emerged from side shoots to one bud.
Divide clumps of rhubarb that are congested, making sure they aren't waterlogged. For tender early stems you need to start to force your rhubarb to encourage early growth.
If the earth isn't too wet and sticks to your boots, it's still worth digging over vegetable plots to catch any frost and around perennials while working in organic matter.
Hardwood cuttings can be taken from Roses, Buddleja, Dogwood, Forsythia, Holly, Honeysuckle, Philadelphus, Viburnum and Willow as well as currants and gooseberries.
Plant bare rooted trees and move shrubs. Dig a generously sized hole and fill with soil, organic matter and a general fertilizer. Stake the trees, firm in and mulch. Deciduous hedges can also be planted at this time of the year.
In a heated greenhouse you can sow leeks, onions, carrots, radishes and lettuce and early salads. Also sow Begonia, Calendula, Lobelia, Salvia and Pelargonium in a propagator. Sweet peas can be sown as well and seedlings from an autumn sowing can now be pinched out.
Continue to dead head winter flowering pansies and other winter bedding, tidying them up and redirecting their energy into more blooms.
If that's not enough to be getting on with, continue housekeeping by making sure the shed and greenhouse are tidy and well organised. Sharpen your secateurs and loppers ready for pruning and think about servicing the lawn mower.
Of the many pleasures found in gardening, none is probably greater than that felt when wildlife enters one’s garden.
Summer is here, the days are long - and contrary to some people’s beliefs it is a good time for planting container grown shrubs.
Water gardens have great charm, beauty and fascination in any garden and to anyone who already owns a pool the attractions are so self evident they wonder why other gardeners do not share them.
Of all the plants I grow in my garden I must admit to having many favourites. But when it comes to Clematis, one hybrid stands out with such great pride and beauty that for me it is easily the most fascinating of all. Clematis Sieboldii “Florida Bi-Colour” is my queen of the climbers.