A Happy New Year everyone and hopefully a good one for gardening.The frosts which we have had in early December put paid to any colour from late flowering perennials left in the garden.
First try to recycle your Christmas tree, if it has roots you could try planting it outside otherwise take it to a council site for chipping. If you have dahlia rhizomes and Begonias, check them.If they are drying out spray with warm water. Also check begonias for vine weevil damage, they enjoy munching on them. At the end of the month you could pot them up to start growth. If you havnt already sown seed of sweet peas it can be done now. They need room to send down a long taproot. It is possible to buy special pots for this, but it is cheaper to use toilet rolls stacked together in a seed tray or large yoghurt cream pots which will take 5 seeds each. Outside, start cutting back grasses and perennials in the border and you could still divide plants. Hellebores will soon be in flower, so cut off the leaves to expose the flowers.
Continue to plant bare root deciduous hedging and trees. Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut to the ground now, and thinned if necessary. Later in the month large flowered clematis can be pruned. They should be cut back to a large bud. However if they are scrambling through a shrub or up a tree, it may only be necessary to tidy them a bit. Don’t touch the spring flowering varieties or you will lose all the flowers. These should be pruned after flowering only if you feel they have become too large or untidy.
If you saved tender fuchsias under cover, repot them now. Shake off some of the old soil, repot with fresh compost and water lightly to start them into growth. Any cuttings of pelargoniums and fuchsias which you took last year and have several to a pot, can be split now. Don’t use too big a pot to start with, they are better gradually potted on as they grow. Water houseplants sparingly and make sure that they aren’t left behind curtains overnight as they will get too cold.
On the vegetable plot, dig over any vacant ground. Rhubarb can be forced to produce some nice pink stems.. Cover them with a purpose made forcer, a large pot or similar. Cover the clump with straw and cover any holes to exclude light. It will be ready for harvesting hen they reach the top.
On January 10th The Broadstone Horticultural Society will be holding the first meeting of the new year with a talk about the Cherry Tree nursery, followed on February 14th with a talk about growing Fruit. Visitors are made very welcome at meetings, an opportunity to learn more about gardening.