January - often the coldest month
January might be the middle of winter but as the days lengthen the garden starts to grow. Now is a great time to plan for the coming gardening year and to order seeds and plants. Enjoy the fresh air, on dry sunny days, and check your winter protection, stakes, ties and supports are still working after any severe weather. Also put out food for birds and leave some garden areas uncut, a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.
Plant bare-root roses, shrubs, hedging and ornamental trees, as long as the ground isn't frozen
Prune your wisteria – cut back summer side shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
Cut back ornamental grasses. Clip the old foliage from ornamental grasses before new growth begins – cut back to within a few centimetres of the ground.
Take root cuttings of fleshy-rooted perennials such as oriental poppies, acanthus and verbascums
Establish new colonies of snowdrops and hellebores by buying plants in flower, so you can choose the prettiest blooms
Clear away soggy, collapsed stems of perennials and compost them
Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs, such as forsythia, willow and viburnum
Remove and bin hellebore foliage marked with black blotches, to limit the spread of leaf spot disease
Press mistletoe berries into the bark of apple trees to establish your own mistletoe plants
Check that small alpines don't become smothered by fallen leaves and other wind-blown debris
Deadhead winter pansies and other bedding regularly, and remove any foliage affected by downy mildew
Move dormant plants that are in the wrong place to more suitable sites, I get loads of fun out of doing this whilst the borders are bare, referring back to pictures taken and plants labelled to help ensure I don’t dig up something I deliberately planted
Check for rot on stored bulbs and tubers, and ensure dahlia and canna tubers haven't totally dried out, really need to be in cardboard boxes with dry compost and labelled so you will remember what they are and where they will be going later this year
Continue pruning climbing roses, while they are dormant to get the shape in place. January is the perfect time to do this as roses are still dormant. Cut back to just above a bud and remove any crossing or dead branches.