A brief Gardeners’ Calendar – January & February


Welcome to the New Year and here are just a few suggestions to keep you horticulturally active, when the weather permits – this morning was rain rain rain but bright, low sunshine won out this afternoon. I called into the gardens at RHS Wisley (much too wet to work in my garden today) and inspiration there was to be had, colour and scent in abundance. I’ll download and edit the photos for a guided tour tomorrow – as more rain is forecast!

These notes are far from exhaustive and quite brief I know – but I’m starting the year slowly, working up to the Big Stuff!


  • Prune dead and diseased wood from trees and shrubs
  • Prune Wisteria to encourage flower production
  • Protect tender plants with horticultural fleece in cold weather
  • Cut off old leaves on Hellebores
  • Start cutting down dead stems of grasses
  • Sow Begonia, Lobelia, Salvia and Pelargonium in heated greenhouses or propagator and sweet peas in the cold frame
  • Sweet peas sown in the autumn may be potted-on


  • Mow lawns if ground conditions and weather permit – set blades high
  • Control moss


  • Start forcing rhubarb. Mulch with well-rotted manure
  • Clear remaining spent crops and weeds
  • Chit potatoes, use saved egg boxed to keep tubers upright. Place in cool airy position
  • Prepare for sowing in the open ground by covering sections of the vegetable plot with clear or black polythene
  • Cover Broad Beans when freezing temperatures are forecast with fleece or cloches


  • Prune established trees (apples and pears) to create fruiting spurs (my fruit tree pruning workshop at Petersham Nurseries is on the Friday, 22nd January – see below)
  • Prune gooseberries and currants
  • Plant new fruit bushes and trees as long as the soil is not frozen
  • Spread compost around the base of trees and bushes
  • Check tree ties
  • Put cloches over strawberries if early crops are required


  • Give plants as much light as possible, not, necessarily sunlight
  • Do not leave plants behind curtains on frosty nights
  • Avoid dry atmospheres to prevent leaf edges browning. Stand on moist gravel
  • Take leaf outings in heated propagator or place out of direct light on a warm window sill
  • The flowers of Amaryllis may need support
  • Keep evergreen Azaleas and Cyclamen cool and away from direct sunlight. Maintain moisture levels


Review what worked best in your garden last year and what changes you thought to make this year – read through your notebook (every gardener should have a notebook!) and photographs (ditto) – for detailed notes. And make plans accordingly – you will only get busier as the year marches and while there are very likely going to be wet and dark days in the weeks ahead, you can make good use of the time indoors, planning ahead.

It might be plants in the wrong place, underwhelming displays in one area of the garden or gaps in the season you may want to plug There may be bargains to be had at the garden centres and nurseries just now.


The Petersham Nurseries School of Garden Inspiration guide to courses throughout the months ahead should be online now – and I’ll be hosting several of the workshops and courses – so time to make some diary dates too perhaps …





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