There's always plenty to do even in the smallest of gardens and mid-winter is no exception. There are essential jobs that need to be done now in the flower garden and those that will ensure that you are ahead of the game come the beginning of spring. So put on your hat and gloves and get out into the garden.
Any job you do in the garden during winter really needs to wait for a break in the weather. Choose a dry quiet day for your own benefit as well as the plants. It may not seem the right time of year to be planting, but January is the perfect time to plant bare rooted shrubs and roses as long as the weather is not too wet or cold. If you are not sure what the weather is likely to do, you can always cover the patch of ground you want to plant with a fleece for a coupe of days to ensure that any frost does not penetrate. Also on the subject of roses, it is worth thinning out the top growth on standard roses to prevent wind rock and other damage from the weather.
The dead stems of plants such as sedum can also be cut down now as long as you are careful not to damage the new growth at the base of the plant. You might want to do the same with ornamental grasses before the new shoots appear. I always find it a bit of dilemma whether or not to cut back dead growth at this time of year. Not so much for the protection it may provide but for the winter interest often created by the dead stems of plants which can look stunning covered in frost.
If the weather hasn't been too harsh you may have started to see the beginnings of bulbs poking up through the ground. Now is the time to clear you flower borders of leaves and other debris before bulbs properly emerge. Again, if the ground is not too wet or frozen you can dig over gaps in flower borders making sure you remove the roots of perennial weeds such as bindweed and ground elder. Also clear away dead foliage from last year's perennials and place it on the compost heap. Improve the soil by digging in plenty of compost or manure. A mulch of manure or bark will also help to protect tender perennials from the rest of the winter weather.
Finally take a positive step towards spring by potting up http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk/ with spring bedding displays. Bulbs such as dwarf narcissus can be mixed with pansies and violas, ivy and other evergreens.
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