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What not to do in your garden in January | Veddw House Garden

What NOT to do in January

by AnneWareham on January 7, 2013

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They say (it’s all true, promise you!) :- 

Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch.

Yey! Drive the neighbours mad with the racket!! The noise any decent sized shredder  makes is excruciating. However, the jamming can be a nightmare and the resulting pile of shreddies not worth the effort of dragging the thing out of the shed from behind all that stuff….

Nah, put it out for the binmen. (or have a nice bonfire and get rid of all the stuff the binmen still haven’t been to collect)

Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days

Err..sunny days???

Dig over any vacant plots that have not been dug already

Do not dig. Never dig. Digging is bad for the soil. If you must indulge in pointless exercise, that is what gyms are for.

Repair and re-shape lawn edges

No! Lawn edges are an ugly nightmare. Plant something like Alchemilla mollis along the edge so that lawn and plants can sit comfortably together without ugly edges (cut Alchemilla down when it flowers and it will be back doing its job in a fortnight)

Inspect stored tubers of DahliaBegonia and Canna for rots or drying out

Err.. what do you do if they are rotting??? (go on – buy new ones and let the nursery man take the strain. (and a little profit: keep them in business)

Start forcing rhubarb

That’s a job they do better in Yorkshire too…. (cue one of those inevitable articles about rhubarb forcing by candlelight. Almost as inevitable as snowdrops)

Prepare a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect them from peach leaf curl

 What did I say about nurserymen? Include fruit growers.

 Squash mistletoe berries into apple tree branches

It’s fun but never worked for me..

Cut down old stems of sedums

What??Why sedums, specially?! Wait a few weeks then jump up and down on all the remaining dried up stems of everything.

Detail of Beech Hedge. Veddw House Garden,  Monmouthshire, South wales, copyright Charles Hawes

Clear borders and rake up leaves

Clear borders of what??? No – mulch them!

But I have a confession to make (sorry!) – those autumn leaves didn’t blow away as usual here. It rained so much that they have stayed squashed on the paths, all soggy. Might be a good idea now to rake them on to those uncleared borders – it’ll hide anything you were supposed to be ‘clearing’. Otherwise mow then up in spring..(oh, all right, I will be mowing them up in spring and mulching then. It’s not nice out there right now!)

Prune rose bushes now whilst they are dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.

Take a hedge trimmer to them. Works just as well!

You can plant bare root roses now in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour.

(off to throw up…)

If your garden is looking a bit bare try growing a winter-flowering evergreen Clematis.

Hate to tell you, but it’s a bit late now to try cheering your garden up like that.

For a more unusual bare-root plant to add to your borders now, try growing Alstromeria from bare root plants.

This is getting bonkers – Alstromeria are hard enough to establish carefully planted in the growing season from a pot. (you guessed it – these were a plant seller’s tips)

Remove old Hellebore leaves to make the new blooms more visible as they emerge this spring.

I think Hellebore flowers look silly without their leaves.

 Avoid walking on your lawn when it is blanketed by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass beneath.

I have never yet managed to damage my grass in either snow or frost by walking on it. And who can resist making the first footprints in the snow???

Start to think about your hanging baskets for this year. Order your Fuchsia, Geranium and Lobelia plants  in preparation for the busy spring period.

Eeeeek! No hanging baskets purleeese! (and I think he mean Perlagoniums. Don’t go there!)

Do stay indoors by the fire. Happy new year!

Anne Wareham  see also recent Telegraph pieces – The Garden Media Awards and the Telegraph gardening trends for 2012 

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