by Janis on 13th January 2023 / 0 comments

Planning, maintenance, and upkeep

With winter well and truly upon us, it’s time to start to think about the maintenance jobs in and around the garden. Also, an opportunity to consider your plans for the year ahead in your garden, patio, or your allotment. There’s always something to be done.

It’s never too early to start flicking through your gardening mags or searching for inspiration online; there is so much information to be found. I must admit I do enjoy browsing through the Gardener’s World magazine and website; it jogs your memory and gives some fantastic inspiration.

I understand that not everyone’s garden is the same, and we all have different priorities and aspirations; however, here are a few tasks that we are planning to undertake.


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Tidying the shed

Before our sowing season
Last year we decided that our garden was getting slightly out of control, and we needed to address the situation. Needless to say, this is an ongoing task and one that we are still pursuing.
The inside of the potting shed after a spring clean and you can now see the worktop.
The Potting shed

One of our jobs was to organise and tidy up our potting shed. It was also time to tackle the ivy which was beginning to encroach upon the windows and block out some light. I must admit we did quite a good job, and I was able to review many of the items in the shed and understand what was needed and what wasn’t for the coming months.

Hopefully, it will be a lot easier to manage this year, although I can see the ivy creeping back again.

The Flymo EasiStore 340R lawn mower is prepared Ready for use on the Lawn
Our new lawnmower

We also invested in a new lawnmower and chose the Flymo EasiStore 340R. A choice was made for various reasons; we wanted one that was compact and easy to store in our newly tidied shed; it was a rotary lawnmower, and it was height adjustable.

I’m looking forward to the lawn’s first trim this year, and with the blade raised to the max, I’m hoping it will be a reasonably easy task.

I shopped around for the best deal, and Homebase, and Amazon had the best offers.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Our Christmas prezzies

Putting them to the test

This Christmas, Gary bought me a delightful squirrel feeder, as we recently had a new furry friend arriving in the garden.

Although I would say I think it is more of a gift for the squirrel than me; however, it will certainly keep us amused.

Hopefully, it will mean that the squirrel will leave some of the other bird feeders alone, but I’m not convinced, they manage to get to our heavy-duty seed feeders too.

It is also important this time of year to keep your bird feeders full.

One of the Christmas gifts I bought for Gary was a Burgon & Ball Kneelo. It is extremely comfortable to kneel on whilst gardening, and it is even filled with memory foam.

When we have a clear winters day, Gary will have to put it to the test.

These gardening gift ideas are not just for Christmas; they are suitable for your friends and family all year round.

Inspiration for your garden

Visiting National Trust sites
We love visiting National Trust sites, especially ones that have magnificent gardens. Last year we revisited Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Scotney Castle in Kent during the season of spring. I find they give so many ideas and inspiration for our own garden.
A mass of planting against the walls of the Sissinghurst Castle Gardens
Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Kent

Visiting the stately homes and castles during the different seasons gives you plenty of creative notions. You’ll be amazed at how the National Trust team of gardeners keep the gardens and grounds looking so attractive throughout the year.

Don’t just take our word for it; visit a beautiful National Trust Garden in your area.

Keeping up with the garden waste

Ensure the garden bin is always full

One task that we always keep on top of is filling our brown garden waste bin. Every fortnight our local council collect our brown wheelie bin, and come rain or shine, we ensure that it is full to its brim.

We pay annually for the garden waste collection, and over recent years they have been moving the goalposts, which is just like most councils. They used to be very accommodating by taking additional black bags of waste but not anymore, to quote Bob Dylan's ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Since December 2021, they no longer take real Christmas trees laid by our bin, so one of our jobs last week was chopping up our two Crimbo trees. Incredibly with meticulous pruning with our secateurs and loppers, we squeezed both trees into one bin.

Planning your garden

The perfect time to design

Whether you are looking to rearrange your patio, embark on changes in your country garden or revitalise your treasured allotment, now is the time to be creative.

Plan out your plot or sections of your garden. We found it more manageable to break the garden down into sections; otherwise, it can be quite daunting if you have a large job on your hands.

One side of the patio with potted plants in bloom as a result of the home irrigation system
Our courtyard patio plants

Think about how you like to spend time in your garden, whether you adore the vibrancy of a flourishing cottage garden, entertain friends and family on your patio, or you enjoy encouraging the wildlife to visit.

Sit down, sketch out your plans and let your imagination run wild; there’s also a lovely book by the RHS named RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design this will give you guidance and advice along the way.

The hand-drawn plan of Our Garden in black and white on an A4 piece of paper
The original layout

Winter pruning jobs

Don’t miss a trick
If you’re like me and often lose track of which shrubs, trees, and flowers you have, then I can highly recommend using the RHS ‘My Garden’ Planner. The RHS ‘My Garden’ is online, free to use, and pretty simple to navigate.
The 'My Calendar' page of the RHS Garden Planner website with a schedule of work required in our garden in January.
The 'My Calendar Page', RHS Garden Planner

You can add all the flowers and shrubs that you have in your garden, and month by month, you’ll see all the jobs you need to complete and when you should be pruning.

I have populated it with many of our plants, and it is incredibly useful. It reminded me that we need to prune our contorted hazel tree, by the end of February as it is getting a little congested. I also need to prune our two ‘Margaret Merrill’ standard roses.

A look at the contorted hazel in late winter, prior to some winter garden maintenance to give it a prune back.
Contorted Hazel

Don’t forget now is the time to prune your rambling roses and snip off the side shoots of your apple and pear trees.

Having a garden is an all year around adventure.

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