Down to earth advice for Derbyshire’s Gardeners - January

Snow Drops - If you haven't any snowdrops in your garden but next door has, why not beg some from them! Snowdrops can be lifted and divided as long as you re-plant them straight away.

Tender plants such as Cordylines and Fuchsia need protection and should be kept out of the frost, so bring them into the greenhouse or conservatory.

Brush heavy snow off trees and brush shrubs and conifers with a broom to prevent branches getting damaged. 

Get Planting - It may be getting cold in the air, but the soil is still retaining some warmth. So it's a good time to plant that hedge you have always wanted or shrubs and trees.Get rid of your old roses and replace with new. The warmth in the soil means good strong root growth and this can be further improved by adding some bonemeal, so get them in now before heavy snow comes along and the soil freezes.

You can plant out now Camellias, Azaleas, Conifers, Shrubs, Roses, Rhododendrons, Trees, plants and trees on display outside at garden centres are usually ones you can plant now, but it’s always best to check with a member of staff.  

Order your summer flowering bulbs now, such as gladioli, dahlias and begonias to ensure you have colourful borders in your garden. 

At this time of year strong winds are expected, so archways, fence posts and panels need to be secure including young trees. Young trees should be staked. Also check climbing plants are fastened back.

If your pampas flower stems are looking a bit on the untidy side then trim the stems back but don't cut back too far until later on in spring as there may be wildlife sheltering within the pampas.  

Carry on clearing flower borders of debris. Dig out annuals and turn over the soil as you go. Cut perennials back down to ground level.

Buddleia  - the Butterfly bush; give it an annual hard prune. 

At this time of year, apple and pear trees are dormant and so is a good time to do a bit of pruning and thinning out. Cut back the new growth to one or two buds. Thin out branches that are twisted, growing and rubbing other branches. Doing these jobs will increase light and a good flow of air through the tree. To finish off give the tree a winter wash this will kill insect eggs that maybe already on the tree.  

If you have a late, summer-flowering Clematis then this can be pruned. If you wish to keep your Clematis tall then just shorten all flowered side shoots to one leaf joint beyond the frame work of the main stems. To keep your clematis small and to rejuvenate old clematis then prune hard back to about a foot off the ground.

Borders need some kind of mulch, use leaf mould, compost or well-rotted manure. Whatever materials you choose to use you need to be putting a layer at least two inches thick. By doing this you are putting nutrients back into the soil, which plants feed on and you also increase the temperature of the soil which helps protect plant roots over winter. Using a mulch helps to keep down the weeds in the forthcoming season.


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