Most of January is too cold and wet for much active gardening but if we do get some decent frost free days then there are still plenty of things that can be done in the garden. There are also a few plants that are at their best this time of year.

Lonicera fragrantissima is a mass of creamy-white fragrant flowers. On a still day the scent can be surprisingly powerful. An excellent semi-evergreen shrub that gets to about 8ft in height.  Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ is a dwarf conifer that is conical in shape. The bright golden foliage of the summer has turned to a wonderful copper colour by winter. One of these in a pot and edged with bright yellow winter flowering pansies will really cheer up the patio in January.

VEGETABLES – Check stored vegetables. Sow early vegetables under glass for planting out under protection.

FRUIT – Prune blackcurrants and other fruit bushes. Plant new fruit trees and bushes as long as the ground is not frozen. Prevent bird damage by placing netting over trees and bushes.

FLOWERS – Sow early half-hardy annuals under glass. Mulch perennial borders with compost. Carry on dead-heading winter flowering tubs and containers.

GREENHOUSE – Check any heaters daily. Ventilate as much as possible. Water plants sparingly.

LAWNS – Lightly mow if conditions are right. Sweep up all dead leaves.

GENERAL – Keep water pipes and taps drained and lagged. Continue digging if soil and weather conditions allow. Clean and sterilize all pots and trays. Now is a good time to clean and oil all of those garden tools, while you still have the time. Spring is just around the corner!