Upcycle your tree
- You can use the cut side branches off your old Christmas tree to cover tender plants in the garden. This will keep the worst of the frost off and allow the plant to breathe.
- Gather up and bin (don’t compost) diseased leaves from under roses and fruit bushes. This will help to limit the carry-over of disease from one season to the next.
- Apply a thick layer of mulch under roses, fruit trees and canes to also help suppress disease infection. Use composted green waste or chipped bark for this.
- Plant new hardy plants to brighten your garden in January!
- I particularly recommend planting hellebores, Cyclamen coum, Viburnum tinus Eve Price, Mahonia, snowdrops, Witch Hazels, winter-flowering heathers and Christmas box.
Helleborus 'Snow Crystal'
Helleborus x sahinii 'Winterbells'
Witch Hazel 'Jelena'
Hamamelis × intermedia 'Jelena'
Witch Hazel 'Pallida'
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida'
Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn'
- Does your living room look bare now that you have taken down the Christmas tree and decorations? Liven it up with houseplants!
- The following plants will do well even if there isn't good direct natural light:
- Where there is good direct light try:
- Create a humid atmosphere around the houseplants by standing the pots in groups and on a tray of damp pebbles. Take care not to overwater indoor plants. If you are worried you may have overwatered them, have no fear, you may be able to bring them back from the brink:
- Position plants where they can make the most of the weak winter daylight.
- Mow the lawn if it needs doing. As long as it's not wet and frozen, there is no reason why it can't be done. Set the blades up higher than in summer.
- Book the mower in to be serviced.
- Clean bird feeders and tables with a wildlife-safe disinfectant.
- Make a log or rock pile in a quiet corner to act as a wildlife refuge. Toads, ground beetles and other garden-friendly critters will over-winter there.
- Empty water butts and give them a thorough clean. Simple fungal organisms can multiply and kill young seedlings if you don't ensure that the water is clean.
- Use bubble wrap to lag plant containers against frost and wind damage. Frost susceptible plants should be protected too.
- Use a cover of lightweight horticultural fleece for winter protection. Its fine webbing allows the plant to breathe and lets in light.
- Buy seed potatoes and set them up to shoot - known as ‘chitting’. Early varieties such as ‘Rocket’ will benefit, but later varieties will yield better as well! If you have room for only one variety, I particularly recommend growing ‘Charlotte’.
- Plant shallots in well-manured soil that hasn’t had onions, leeks or shallots in for several years. Shallots are frost hardy so should be planted as early as possible.
- Prune grapevines, blackcurrants, red currants, white currants, blackberries, tayberries, gooseberries and loganberries.
- Cover established rhubarb crowns with manure and a rhubarb forcing pot (or old chimney) to produce early, tender young stems.