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A Month For Planning

January 10, 2012

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January is one month of the gardening calendar year when we gardeners can relax and take some time out to reflect and plan what we would like to do with and plant in our gardens in the next season to come.

I always think that January is great for ‘armchair‘ gardening; looking through seed and plant catalogues and deciding on what we would like to have a go at growing this coming year. Even the weeds in our gardens take a bit of a rest in cold weather around this time of the year, although weeds can be quite hardy and even at this time of the year my eye catches a few that have snuck up.

However, if you do feel that you have been cooped up indoors just a little too much over the festive season, then there are always jobs to be found in the garden.

This month I’ll be planting four semi-mature Prunus Shirotae ‘Mount Fuji’ trees, which with their white flowering Cherry Blossoms will look fabulous alongside the rock and gravel Japanese garden that I am currently creating.

In such Japanese gardens, these rocks represent land or islands and the raked gravel represents the water or the sea.

During January, we can still be planting trees, deciduous shrubs and roses, but pick a nice dry day when the ground is not waterlogged or frozen. You can also prune trees and cut out any dead or diseased branches, but remember to avoid pruning in frosty weather to prevent damage to buds.gardenblog47.jpg

If you’re brave enough, then during January you can get on with any weeding so you can start off with weed-free borders in the spring. Also to warm up, you may consider digging over and preparing flower borders or vegetable patches by incorporating organic matter. The more work that we do during this month, the more benefits and rewards we’ll see later in the year.

Remember that birds are our allies in our gardens. Yes, I know that they may peck at our soft fruits at other times of the year, but birds really are needed to deal with insect pests in our gardens. So this time of year when their natural food source may be a little scarce, give them a helping hand and add a bag of wild bird food to your shopping list. Also, on a cold frosty day put out some warm water for them.

Some people may feel that January is such a long cold and gloomy month and not really fun for gardening. I however think that it’s a great month for planning and tidying and the fresh air is great for chasing away the winter blues. Besides, the days are already getting longer and the crowns of bulbs are pushing through the soil and that means that spring is on its way.

Well, that’s it for another week. I do hope that you had a great Christmas and that this New Year brings you all you hope and wish for.

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