January gardening jobs and planting ideas

Although it feels like little happens in the garden in January there are some wonderful early performers who have started doing their thing to provide flowers and scent, even at this time of year.  

Hellebores - aka the Christmas Rose are beginning to flower.  It is around this time that I remove last year's leathery and winter damaged foliage to reveal the flowers and the fresh new foliage, which is beginning to unfurl. 

It is a good time to view the garden and see if it could benefit from more interest at this time.  

Hamamelis, commonly known as Witch Hazel is a deciduous medium to large sized shrub and is flowering now.  It's unusual spidery yellow, orange or burnt red, fragrant flowers really do lift the spirit.  

If you would like an evergreen shrub then early flowering Camellias are wonderful.  You will need to  have acidic soil to grow them or alternatively you could small plant small growing varieties in a pot with ericaceous soil.  Position Camellia's in a sheltered position and somewhere away from the morning sun to avoid frost damage to the bugs. 

Dead head winter flowering Pansies and other winter bedding to prolong their flowering.  Check the base of Cyclamen for downy mildew and remove any infected leaves. 

Look after the birds.  Berries are becoming scarcer so keep bird feeders topped up and check that bird baths are not frozen over.  An idea I loved was to put out your old Christmas wreathes with berries for the birds to eat.  

Other post Christmas recycling ideas are to keep polystyrene packaging blocks to use at the bottom of plant pots instead of crocks to assist drainage.  The old Christmas tree can also be cut up into sections and left to rot down in a hidden corner of the garden.