Action for January Borders
Jobs that'll give you instant results
Build a raised bed
If you have very shallow soil, building raised beds will give you more planting depth. Fill them with a mixture of compost, manure and good-quality topsoil. Organic matter added each year will gradually build up soil depth. See our factsheet for details.
Repair broken fences and trellis
It’s a good opportunity while plants are dormant and there is therefore less foliage in the way. Repair any damage and erect new fences where necessary.
Plant deciduous trees
If the ground is workable and the weather is mild, plant deciduous trees, shrubs, hedges, climbers and roses. Cut roses back to 15cm-20cm after planting to encourage strong basal shoots.
Weed borders and containers
A regular tour of the garden with your hoe will help to control weeds that can set seed all year round, such as chickweed.
Jobs to do now; you'll see the rewards later
Improve your soil
- If you have clay soil, dig in bulky organic matter – such as garden compost – and grit or coarse sand to improve the drainage (see our growing on clay factsheet).
- For sandy soil, dig in plenty of organic matter to aid water retention (see our growing on sand factsheet).
- On chalky soil, add organic matter to increase the soil depth, aid water retention and improve the nutrient content (see our growing on chalk factsheet).
Lift and divide snowdrops
You’ll have more success if you move them as growing plants than if you plant dry bulbs in autumn. If you’re buying plants, look out for spectacular varieties like ‘Magnet’ and ‘Atkinsii’.
Remove plain green leaves from variegated evergreens
... such as elaeagnus, euonymus or privet. These branches tend to be more vigorous than the variegated ones and if left to grow, can eventually take over altogether.
Service your lawnmower
Either do it yourself or book it in for a service with a local expert. Sharpen or replace blades. Drain and replace oil, check spark plugs and clean air filters on petrol mowers. Check the cable and plugs on electric mowers.
See our lawnmower reviews for more information and current Best Buys