Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
This is my guide on how to prepare your garden for the winter it's about to endure, I'll go over basic measures you can take to prevent any future problems from the dip in temperature.
Keep any plants that aren't fully hardy safe from frost damage by using frost protection fleece which is lightweight, strong and easy to cut, it also protects against birds and insects.
Bubble Insulation comes in rolls and can be fixed inside both aluminium and wooden greenhouses to keep heating costs at a reasonable level. Parafin heaters from Parasene will heat both greenhouses and cold frames, and there are also Botanico thermostatically controlled greenhouse heaters.
If we do have a snow this winter, a large snow shovel from Bosmere or a telescopic version from Yeoman will be invaluable. They will also prove their worth during the summer and autumn for moving leaves, so an all round sensible purchase.
To help you stay upright are shoe grippers. These lightweight studded attachments for the bottom of your shoes are the type of simple yet effective invention that you wish you'd have thought of first and presented on Dragons' Den.
They probably won't be needed if you have treated your path using a Bosmere Winter Salt Spreader, an excellent device that holds 5kg of de-icing salt. There is also the Winter Wizard Salt Stick. Slim and easy to use, all you do is twist it and one stick will cover 40 square metres with salt that can be bought separately.
All of these items can be found in our winter gardening shop.
Bird feeders range from nut dispensers to elaborate feeding stations. Many are squirrel proof, some discourage larger birds such as pigeons and others are designed for different types of seed and food.
Look out for seed mixes that are marketed for specific species such as robins, finches or tits or buy certain seeds, perhaps thistle to attract goldfinches and chaffinches. Suet and fat balls are excellent food sources for the long winter months and these can come with added cereals and seeds to provide a very effective energy boost.
A pond heater is a good way to keep it from freezing over fully, you might choose one with a thermostat to keep costs down or use an aeration unit (also known as an air pump) as an alternative. To keep an eye on whether the temperature dips below zero, a min/max garden thermometer or a pond thermometer will be useful. The most sophisticated will transmit the water temperature to a receiver inside the house.
Even if you aren't a boy scout, it really will pay to be prepared this winter with any of these quality products.
Dazzling with colourful interest in the brilliant sunshine, this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will prove to be a tremendous attraction for everyone as it caters for both keen gardeners and families who just what a day out in magnificent surroundings.
After all the dry hot weather that much of the country has experienced over the last few weeks, the lavender in David Coton's garden is at its most colourful and scented, he's cutting the flowerheads to make lavender biscuits or drying them for pot pourri. Here are more jobs you can do in the garden during July.
At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.
As part of a project designed to sow ideas, grow inspiration and cultivate futures, 300 London schools are growing their own picnic this summer and their reward could be a £500 voucher from GardenSite.