Happy New Year to All Gardeners!


We are living in surreal times in that our winter has been so mild that lots of plants are peeping through which should not be coming up at this stage of the year and I fear they may suffer if we get some severe frosts in February and early March.


Whilst it may seem, on the face of it, a quiet time of year there is plenty that one can be doing in the garden and inside at present;


  1. Houseplants
    1. It’s important not to overwater house plants at this time of year and to ensure that they get maximum exposure to daylight particularly with such short days;
    2. Do not place them in a draught or in an area where temperatures will fluctuate greatly in the course of any one day;
    3. You might care to enrich the compost mix in the pot (do not put a plant into a pot which is too big for the roots.  But equally do not put a plant in a pot that is too small)  If you are to repot, mix some general compost, small amounts of pearlite/vermiculate and pro-grow and make a fine moist mix and repot the plant accordingly;
  2. Tidy out the greenhouse
    1. Greenhouses just like your home, need to be kept clean and it’s important that they are kept infection free;
    2. Sweep out the floor and disinfect all appropriate surfaces (including shelving and staging);
  3. Plants and winter seeds
    1. You can already be thinking about planting some early seeds for potting on and planting out in the early spring;
    2. Antirrhinums, sweet peas etc. are good candidates but there are many others;
    3. Mix up some fine John Innes Number 1 with a little bit of pro-grow and some pearlite in a seed tray and plant the seedlings as instructed by the packet and cover with a loose level of compost and water gently (please don’t overwater);
    4. Heat the greenhouse or take the seed trays indoors if you think there is going to be a severe frost;
  4. Ensure all borders etc. are tidy in the garden
    1. Cut off any remaining dead leaves/stalks to enable new growth to develop behind;
    2. It will soon be time to divide clumps of large herbaceous plants and move around the garden as requisite;
  5. I don’t know about you but we haven’t stopped mowing our lawn which has continued to grow throughout the period;
    1. Do not over mow as a short lawn is vulnerable to frost;
    2. Tidy and clip all hedges;
  6. Check through your seed catalogues
    1. Lots of seed catalogues will arrive on your doorstep but I tend to use well known and preferred suppliers;


If your ordering plants I also favour old fashioned nurseries who have good stock, good processes to avoid infection and deliver the plants effectively (Halls of Hadham for example are very good for dhalias and chrysanthemums, Whitemans in Devon for pinks etc).


 Happy Gardening and Happy New Year!!

Robert Hunt - Veolia Executive Director