Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
It may be cold outside but there is plenty of gardening you can do with your feet up inside at this time of year.
Now is the best time to see the overall structure and shape of your garden which means you can assess what you already have and plan on how to improve it.
You don’t have to spend a fortune and your garden can be any size whether in the country or in a town. Have a good look through the seed catalogues for summer flowers
you can grow from scratch and flick through gardening books and manuals for ideas and easy to implement garden tips.
If you’re thinking of growing your own fruit and veg then it’s a great time to plant seeds indoors for some early crops such as lettuces, summer brassicas such as cabbages and cauliflowers, spinach and salad onions.
A job for January is to get seed beds ready and now is also the time to prune currant and gooseberry bushes.
A simple garden solution for January is to bring colour to container evergreens. It’s a
good idea to invest in a basic collection of container evergreens – box, conifer, holly and
bay – that you can customise through the seasons by adding bedding plants around the
base of each bush.
You can create a mix of containers that look great grouped together or scattered through the garden with a variety of colourful plants decorating them such as white cyclamen for winter, lavender blue pansies in spring and white and pink daisies
Another plant great for instant winter-spring colour and perfect for containers, window
boxes and borders is the Primula. The majority bloom in the spring, but they have been
known to flower through mild winters.
There is a wide range of colours available from bright yellow to pastel reds and blues and they can grow in most soil types and be planted in sun and semi shade. They can be used very effectively in bedding schemes with tulips and other winter-spring bedding plants or planted alone in blocks of colour.
When planting Primula in containers, use multi-purpose compost and ensure that they never dry out – and remember to dead head the plants regularly as this will encourage a
longer flowering period.
January’s garden checklist:
• Clean and oil garden tools
• Scrub pots so they are disease free and don’t infect new plants
• Sharpen secateurs
• Take the lawnmower in to be serviced
• If it snows, shake it off evergreens, hedges and conifers to stop the weight
causing any damage
• Treat timber fences, archways and sheds with wood preservative
• Bring mature shrubs to life by pruning older branches as close to the stem as
• Keep container plants protected from frost and check to see if they need watering
• Remember to put out food and water for birds