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“January brings the snow” goes the poem but hopefully it won’t this year. Long nights and short cold days mean that gardening is not a priority for most people, but January is the ideal time to plan how your garden is going to look this year.

We will have a range of “starter plants”, which you can grow on, and armed with a seed catalogue you can plan for a colourful spring and summer and lots of tasty fruit and veg.

Early flowering bulbs should be making an appearance now, look for Snowdrops and specie Crocus. To foil slugs and snails clear away old leaves and other debris that they may hide under. Winter flowering shrubs will be noticeable now as well, look for Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) with sweetly scented, spidery blooms on bare stems.

Things to do during January

You may not feel like going outside but now is the time to get started so put on your coat and boots and make a start by digging over beds and borders, removing weeds. In the vegetable garden incorporate some garden compost or J.Arthur Bower’s Farm Manure into the soil.

  • January is the time to prune fruit trees/bushes.
  • Get a head start with potatoes by “chitting” them now.
  • Cover areas in the vegetable patch with cloches to warm the soil for early sowings.
  • Sow early vegetables, and flower seeds which can be kept indoors.
  • Don’t forget our feathered friends, they still need feeding.
  • Dead head flowering plants in your containers to prolong the show.
  • Now is the time to force rhubarb. Select a root and mulch with garden compost, cover with a bucket or a special rhubarb forcer.
  • Established trees can be fed with Growmore.

If you are planning to grow cane fruit such as raspberries, plant them now. To ensure strong healthy plants trim back any extreme growth (the supporting canes should be about 15cm(6in) above the bush when you are finished). Free-standing fruit trees can be pruned now, remove the dead and dying branches, then look for any that are crossing over each other and remove them. Now is also an ideal time to start a bog garden.

Wildlife Gardening For January

  • Put out bird food on the ground, in feeders and on bird tables.
  • Keep the bird bath topped up and make sure it isn’t frozen.
  • If you have a wildlife pond stop it from freezing over by using a float.
  • Put out food for hedgehogs – not bread and milk – use dog food (no chicken)
  • Make a shelter for wildlife from logs and rocks.

Plant of the Month






What to grow from seed during January

For lovely summer colour try:

Antirrhinum, Begonia, Dianthus, Gazania, Geranium, Lobelia, Pansies or Sweet Peas.

Vegetables which do well from early sowings are:

Broad Beans (Aquadulce Claudia), Celeriac, Celery, Onions (Ailsa Craig), Salad Leaves and Spinach.

You don’t have to have a greenhouse to start these seeds, a bright windowsill will suffice.

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The Garden CentreTo Visit in Essex

We have parking spaces for up to 450 cars and easy access both onto and off of the A127, which is the main dual-carriage way into Southend-on-Sea. The A127 is off Junction 29 of the M25 which is a 10 minute drive to our door. Plan your visit to Summerhill today. We can’t wait to see you.

Summerhill Garden Centre, Pipps Hill Road North, A127 Arterial Road, Billericay, Essex CM11 2UJ