As the festivities become a distant memory, and January brings the prospect of a new start, it’s good to get back in the garden, albeit, probably cold and wet!

The most obvious job to start with is to shred the Christmas tree, as this saves a trip to the tip and creates useful mulch, which you can dig into any vacant plots.

Generally though, in January, gardens need protecting from heavy (and consistent) rain, frosts, snow and gale-force winds. This means being vigilant; checking fleeces, ties and stakes for damage and moving pots around judiciously. For example, if there’s a spot in your garden that naturally catches the light, consider moving your plants towards it so they can soak up any precious warming rays.

If you like to grow your own fruit and vegetables, then now’s time to plan the coming season’s crop rotations, prune any fruit trees you might have and start forcing through early rhubarb.

It’s worth having a really good tidy of the garden, especially after wind and storms. Be mindful to avoid overdoing it though – hedgehogs love leaf piles and hedges, so it’s good to leave a little untouched spot just for them.

On any rare sunning days, it’s worth opening the greenhouse doors so it can air.

And, don’t forget your resident and visiting wildlife – birds need food during these early months, as food is scarce - fat balls, nuts and seeds are perfect, along with plenty of clean, fresh water.

http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/in-month/january