The weather in January is usually cold, wet or a mixture of the two. However I try to get out occasionally as I think that the more I can do now the less outstanding jobs there will be to do in the spring when time will be taken up with planting and cultivation. As there is only limited time available I try to set myself a small target each weekend. The jobs this month include clearing out the compost bins behind the shed. I try to compost as much garden waste as possible and the two bins provide a really good source of organic material. I fill one bin and then transfer the material into the second and let it rot down while the first is filling again. I think that transfering to the second bin helps in the composting process as it introduces air and mixes up the compost. The compost from the second bin, when ready, is tranferred to the garden where I use it as a mulch in the perennial borders. The cycle is then started again by transfering the material from the first bin.
The other job I tend to do in January is to prune the hardy shrubs and trees to shape however I leave the top growth on any shrub which is borderline hardy as this does help them survive the winter. Most plants in the greenhouse are relatively dormant so I just keep them ticking over by giving a very small amount of water when required (usually no more than once a week). The plants in flower now in the greenhouse are Cyclamen, Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera), Primulas and some early Daffodils. These plants flower very well in the greenhouse which is kept at a minimum of 4°C.
Winter jasmine (jasminium nudiflorum) is covered in these small yellow flowers for most of the winter. This plant does not cling naturally and must therefore be tied onto a support such as this trellace.
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