#5 things for January

looking out over the garden at the start of 2016

looking out over the garden at the start of 2016

Happy New Year, flower lovers. We’re not into new year’s resolutions – certainly not of the giving up gin and cake variety. We get plenty of exercise in the Not so Secret Garden all year round to make this unnecessary. However, we have decided to introduce a new feature for 2016 on the blog.

From time to time you’ll see #5things appearing in the header as a way of signposting you to our top tips on all sorts of things. We’re beginning the new year with our top 5 things to do in the cutting garden in January. We’d love to hear about anybody who has been inspired to start their own cutting patch this year and is growing along with us. Tweet us or comment on our Facebook page. Of course, if you love cut flowers but have no time or space to grow many, we’ll happily provide you with beautiful, fragrant, home-grown blooms throughout most of the year.

January may seem like the closed season in the garden but, believe me, there’s plenty to be achieved even in the depths of winter.

  1. Give in to the natural urge to have a sort-out after Christmas. january is the perfect month to get rid of superfluous or broken garden bits and pieces, clean and tidy your greenhouse, wash pots and seed trays, maintain tools and organise yourself before seed sowing starts in earnest next month.
  2. Put in a seed order. Take a long hard look at your growing space, make a wishlist of some of your favourite flowers and settle down to make a planting plan to ensure that you have some cut flowers growing all through the season. (More of this later!) Then spend an hour in front of the fire with the seed catalogues before putting in an order to arrive in plenty of time for sowing tie in February.
  3. Plant a shrub. Increase your stock of foliage  for posies and bouquets by growing a shrub or two. Now is the time to get planting as it’s the dormant season but the ground is still soft  enough to work. Get your new plants off to the best start by adding some myccorhizal fungi to the planting hole.
  4. Prune your existing roses. Roses can be pruned when they are dormant. Cut to just above a bud and remove any straggly or crossing stems to give your rose a good shape.
  5. Plant out under cover (in a polytunnel) for early blooms. If you sowed a few sweet peas back in the autumn then you can pop them into your polytunnel now to ensure early pickings. If you don’t have a polytunnel, then keep pinching out the tips of your seedlings to avoid them getting weak and leggy. You can plant them out once the weather warms u in the spring. We’re experimenting with ranunculus by planting them out early with protection as they have outgrown their pots in the polytunnel. Ranunculus planted out of doors in a sheltered spot will be fine without protection – but our cossetted plants would have a bit of a shock.

If you are serious about growing along with us, then why not subscribe to our newsletterYou’ll receive a monthly email with a planting plan for your cutting patch along with a monthly to do list, hints and tips from Grace and the team.

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