There are lots of jobs that can be done in the garden now, if you feel like working off a few festive pounds!

  • Now is a good to start Sweetpeas off in our more northern area. Sow seeds into pots or root trainers in temperatures of about 15 degrees C and once germinated grow on in a frost free environment. Lots of our little furry rodents will be making their way into greenhouses at the moment, so don’t leave your sweet peas unprotected or they will definitely be eaten — if the mice don’t get them, watch out for slugs and snails.
  • If the weather stays fine it’s an idea to rake leaves off borders and cut down dead stems on perennials – this will allow you to get at the weeds which are already starting to grow, and also makes the garden less ‘dead looking’!
  • Deciduous trees can be pruned now, particularly birches which will ‘bleed’ if pruned after about February. Don’t prune cherries, plums or almonds to help avoid silverleaf disease.
  • Root cuttings of plants such as acanthus can be taken at this time of year.
  • Remember our feathered friends and keep the bird table well stocked, plus put some fruit out for incoming fieldfares, thrushes, redwings and blackbirds. The Great British Birdwatch is at the end of the month.
  • Lots of seed catalogues are arriving at this time of year, so have a look through and see what you particularly like.
  • I store many pelargoniums and fushias in the greenhouse, but they must be kept above 5 degrees C or they will definitely die. Open the greenhouse doors on mild days to increase air flow and reduce mould growth, but remember to shut them up in the evening (spoken by one who regularly forgets).