10 things to do in the garden during January

Greener Christmas

Don’t forget to recycle your old Christmas tree. This year Barton Grange customers can drop off their old trees which will be given to the Fylde Sand Dunes project. They will plant the trees on the beach at St Annes to help sand dunes form and improve flood defences. Note for the diary: the deadline for drop off is January 5 2024. To find out more, go to lancswt.org.uk.

Get shredded

If you’ve got a garden shredder you can cut your Christmas tree into smaller bits and then shred it to make mulch for your borders. Stack the chips at the back of a border for a few months to rot down before using them around trees and shrubs. Eco-friendly gardening at its best.

Weather watch

As we all learned to our cost last year, it can be very cold in January so keep a close eye on the weather reports. If frost is forecast get the fleece out as quickly as you can. Be extra careful with camellias as frost will stop the buds from forming.

Winter pruning

January is a good time to prune apple and pear trees by removing dead, diseased or damaged branches. Take time to get them in a good shape ready to grow in spring. Also, if you have gooseberry and redcurrant bushes, cut the side shoots back to three buds.

Second bloom

Regular deadheading will encourage fresh blooms right through to early spring. Pansies, violas and Bellis will all benefit from a snip right now. When deadheading cyclamen, make sure you pull the entire stem out of the tuber as leaving anything can allow the rot to spread.

Happy Hellebores

When conditions are cold and wet, Hellebores are prone to developing black blotches on their leaves so I’d advise chopping them off. However a wildlife-friendly option is to leave the seed heads intact for the birds to feed on in the colder winter months when food is scarce.

Great British Life: Start forcing rhubabrb now for delicious home-made desserts. PHOTO: Getty ImagesStart forcing rhubabrb now for delicious home-made desserts. PHOTO: Getty Images

Full force 

You can start forcing rhubarb in January which can be done with a bucket or a special rhubarb forcer. Make sure you mulch around the edges to keep the light out. Start harvesting when the stalks reach 20-30cm and you can enjoy fresh fruit crumbles and pies all winter long.

Take root

Bare root shrubs, hedges and trees can all be planted now, as long as the ground isn’t too hard. Good options include roses, peonies and fruit trees. Just be sure to mulch well after planting.

Perfect partners

White stem birch trees look beautiful when underplanted with cyclamen coum. Their bright petals contrast with the white bark of the birches in winter. Cyclamen is a cold weather hero that’s perfect for filling a bare patch in the garden right now.

Bright and beautiful

We’re all craving a bit of colour at this time of year. Bright-stemmed dogwoods are a good option and winter jasmine and heathers are both coming into their own too.

Plant of the month 

Great British Life: Primroses add much-needed winter colour to the garden. PHOTO: Getty ImagesPrimroses add much-needed winter colour to the garden. PHOTO: Getty Images


Primroses are one of the earliest spring flowers. One of my favourites is Primrose Everlast because it’s quite a hardy variety that will add a much-needed splash of colour to borders and containers. Once established, they require very little TLC and return year after year to deliver a burst of sunshine in the garden every winter.