Passionate about Plants
Paul advises on how best to whie away the time until you can get back on the garden
Dispelling the Gardeners January Blues
A crisp January morning, and another year begins in the gardener's extraordinary cycle of birth, death and rebirth. So take a moment to ponder the gardens new beginnings while you stuff you desiccated Poinsettia and a 7 foot Douglas Fir into the wrong wheely bin(mental note buy new brown wheely bin). After suffering the enforced twelve days of gluttony, binge drinking and endless visits from unwelcome relatives it is a great relief to escape into the garden for peace and tranquillity.
The Christmas period is always the best time to curl up with a goodly pile of traditional and reliable plant and seed catalogues. But remember there are no flowers without tools and no tools without a garage to keep them in, which brings us neatly to our first job of the New Year. Rescue your tools from under the pile of junk that has accumulated in your garage over Christmas and clean them with an oily rag. You will no doubt discover the forgotten box of mouldy dahlias, glads and assorted bulbs that you dutifully wintered in your damp garage. Sort through them throwing away all the rotting ones, next all the ones half eaten by the assortment of vermin (making a mental note to buy a mouse trap). Now we are left with all the very small ones which undoubtedly will not flower so they might as well go into your new brown wheely bin.
The days are short and the nights can be very chilly. For wildlife the need to find food means that even the most timid birds and mammals are active during the day. With the memory of the loss of your precious bulbs and seeds these cold days make it an ideal time to down the last bottle of scotch that was left over from New Years Eve and spend the misty afternoons sitting in your greenhouse taking pot shots at those damn squirrels and hedgehogs!
If you have a bird feeder in your garden don't overfill it, you want to keep the birds on the breadline over winter. You don't want to encourage a fast food mentality among your bird life, neither do you want flabby feeders only lean and mean birds that will eat the garden pests this summer. Likewise make sure your bird feeder is within reach of your cat, as this is another way that ensures natural selection favours alert and hardy bird specimens.
Every gardener has his favourite piece of kit, but choosing the right gardening apparel is even more important. Make sure you wear the most expensive clothing you can afford to get muddy in. You want to make a statement that says expensive and durable. When your neighbour sees you getting down and dirty in a £125 Burberry polo shirt he will naturally assume that you have ten more!
In January the garden looks somewhat bare, cold and uninviting, so I suggest you stay indoors and surf the internet.