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January in the garden

Close up of a snowdrops in a sunny day.

Gardening jobs for January

It’s January, the beginning of a brand-new year and we often find ourselves reflecting and planning for the year ahead of us. For us gardeners that means stocking up on seeds, planning what we want to plant and when and trying to avoid any mistakes we made last year.


This time of year is great for general maintenance, planning and some good old pottering with a warm brew.

Here are our top gardening jobs for January:

  • Keep an eye on your feathered friends at this time of year. The cold weather can dramatically reduce natural food resources for birds so putting out high-energy food can make all the difference. Access to water can also be difficult during freezing temperatures so try to remember to put out fresh clean water regularly and melt iced birdbaths with warm water. Now’s also a good time to put up bird boxes in sheltered spots in time for birds to make the most out of them in nesting season.
  • Bare-root shrubs, hedging and ornamental trees and fruit trees can be planted now as they’re dormant, as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
  • If you have plants that you want to move, now’s a good time to do so while they’re not in active growth.
  • Sprinkle all-purpose fertiliser around the base of hardy shrubs and hedges.
  • Check that any winter protection you’re using is still doing the job. You may need to re-stake and re-tie some areas and check that any fleece or wrapping is still secure and covering where it’s needed.
  • Use this quieter time of year to clean out pots and tools in preparation for lots of planting in the coming months.
  • Try to avoid walking over your lawn during heavy frost or snow as this can damage the grass beneath.

Trimming, pruning and tidying

  • Clear out weeds and any debris from your veg patch and rake over. Preparation is key for a good year in the veg patch.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses whilst it’s dormant to encourage healthy new growth.
  • Deadhead winter bedding regularly and remove any dying foliage. 
  • Prune rose bushes back to just above a bud whilst growth is dormant, making sure to remove any dead branches.
  • Trim back apple and pear trees.
  • Keep fallen leaves and debris away from small alpines to avoid them from being smothered.

Big plans

  • Plan what you’d like to grow for the coming year, what needs planting when and research what types of plants will be best suited to your garden, taking into consideration lighting, soil type and how sheltered your garden is.
  • It’s also worth thinking about plants that are mutually beneficial and do well next to each other, known as companion planting – for example, french marigolds and potatoes – the marigolds deter eelworms from your crop. This is our favourite job for January as it’s one you can do from the comfort of your own sofa.