Dorset - - Garden Masterclass -

Jan­uary is a great time to plant trees, shrubs and hardy flow­ers, but al­ways work with the weather, leav­ing spades in the shed when the ground is soggy or frozen. Cold days are ideal for clear­ing up es­pe­cially on the veg patch, where the re­moval of all the old bras­si­cas breaks the life-cy­cle of over­win­ter­ing aphids and white­flies so fewer come back in the sum­mer.

Keep off your lawn dur­ing frosty weather as the weight of your foot­prints causes the ice-bound blades to rapidly de­frost and turn black. Al­though this won’t kill them, you’ll be look­ing at the black foot­prints un­til spring.

If the ther­mome­ter dips below freez­ing float a ball on your pond, which as it blows about acts as an ice­breaker en­sur­ing air reaches the sur­face. My favourite job dur­ing frosty snaps is prun­ing. Once you start, the plea­sure of see­ing clear bare earth and tidy and tame bor­ders is very mor­eish. It’s also very warm­ing es­pe­cially if you burn the clip­pings of roses in a bra­zier.

It’s an ideal time to buy dor­mant mail-or­der ‘bare­root’ plants, such as roses and trees with­out com­post or a pot. Not only does this re­duce their cost, it also cuts down on the un­re­cy­clable plas­tic con­tain­ers. Plant as soon as they are de­liv­ered, or if the ground is frozen or it’s rain­ing un­wrap the tops leav­ing the roots cov­ered in com­post or un­til the weather im­proves.

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