If the weather is cold and wet, why not sit inside with a cup of tea and a slice of Christmas cake and plan what you would like to do in the garden for the rest of the year. Look at seed catalogues for ideas of what to sow. Apple and pear trees can still be pruned now, if there is no risk of frosts, by taking out any diseased, crossing or dead branches. Aim to end up with an open tree that allows light and air into it.
Prune outdoor grapevines by mid January, rising sap ‘bleeds’ from pruning cuts later in spring. Buy and start chitting early potatoes. Chitting will help to bring on a slightly earlierand heavier crop.
Mid-winter is a tough time for wildlife in the garden. Make sure there is a continuous supply of food and fresh water.
Now is a good time to clean and sharpen your tools ready for use again in the spring. Smearing a thin film of oil over garden tools made of steel, or other metals liable to corrode, will protect them from rust. The wooden handles also benefit from a rub
with linseed oil.
It is not too late to aerate your lawn, as long as it is not frozen or waterlogged.
Deciduous hedges can be renovated now by cutting one side, and the top to 15cm below desired height, leaving the other side until next year. Cut away old leaves of hellebores to show off their flowers, unless they are specially grown for their foliage.