Handy Hints



Plants that provide interest in the month of January


The first flowering snowdrops will be with us soon reminding us that life is stirring again in the garden, while crocuses won't be far behind. Cheering us on the cold mornings are the bright yellow flowers of the winter jasmine and mahonia. The red-stemmed cornus stands out in the shrubs border, as do the silvery catkins of the garrya. Viburnams are invaluable for their white flowers this time of year, and in the flower border the winter-flowering iris is a joy to see.

Wobbly saplings, shrubs and roses


Paying particular attention to those planted in the autumn, check for movement in the soil and re-firm any that have become loosened by wind or frost but only do this when the surface of the soil is fairly dry or it may become compacted. With young trees, check stakes and ties, and renew if necessary. If a plant is allowed to wobble back and forth in the soil, its growth and general health will be inhibited.

Fruit trees


Winter-prune if not done already. Spray with tar oil to kill off green algae and over-
wintering insect eggs. Choose a still day to prevent the spray drifting onto other
plants, as it can scorch and spoil them. if you need help, ring Rob.

Trees


Any pruning of deciduous trees should be done while they are still dormant. All forms of tree surgery, including topping, shaping, lopping, thinning and felling should be carried out by suitably qualified personnel employed by a reputable long-established company such as Rob Blann Garden Services.

Digging


Dig and weed the beds and borders if not already done. Apply a thick dressing of soil conditioner (a rich, dark organic medium which not only improves the texture of the soil and feeds the plants, but also provides a good healthy-looking finish to the garden). Digging can be a back-breaking job so do take care. Don't struggle and do yourself an injury, call in the professionals, Rob Blann.

Levelling a bumpy lawn


Choose a time when the soil is fairly dry. Bumps and hollows in the lawn can be levelled out by lifting small areas of the turf and either adding or removing soil as appropriate.

Laying a new lawn or replacing a bad one


This can be done providing the ground is not frozen or the soil is waterlogged. The art of creating a new lawn is in the ground preparation, for it is most important to carry out the following tasks: firstly, dig over the ground and remove any roots, large stones and any other debris; secondly, rake level; then consolidate the soil by repeatedly walking over it with your weight over your heels; and finally rake to a fine tilth before laying good quality turf. A lawn is meant to stay level, its no good if after 18 months it starts to sink in places, so do make sure the ground is well consolidated before you lay that turf. To avoid disappointment later on, call in Rob at the beginning.

Fences and sheds


The winter is an ideal time to apply wood preservative. Repair or renew damaged fencing, and re-felt that leaky shed roof. When engaging the services of a contractor or company, ensure that the work will be properly carried out and guaranteed. Rob's your man.

Trelliswork


The use of a good trellis can be an asset when positioned correctly within the garden. Heavy-duty trellis is recommended and the supporting posts sturdy and set 2 feet in the ground with concrete. My advice is, if you are unsure, contact me and I will come and view your garden and quote for the complete job; this service is free to you.

Archways and pergolas


Why not build an archway or pergola? If it's a natural looking feature you are looking for, Rob Blann Garden Services specialise in rustic work.

Paving


Patios and paths can be laid in the winter provided they are properly protected from frost during construction. When engaging the services of a contractor or company, ensure that the work will be properly carried out and guaranteed. Rob Blann will be pleased to quote for your patio or path, and even design it if required.

Ornamental trees

If pruning is required it should be done while the deciduous trees are still dormant.
Special attention should always be given to the overall balance and shape of a tree
when pruning or lopping. Remove any dead op diseased wood. Any suckers growing
from the base of the tree should be snipped off. For professional advice contact Rob
Blann.

Shrubs


Prune as necessary but be careful with certain shrubs or you will lose the coming
season's flowers.

Planting


Planting of deciduous trees, shrubs and roses can continue this month whenever the soil is workable.

Herbaceous perennials


Lift and divide as appropriate. Management of the herbaceous border is necessary to prevent overcrowding and to provide smaller, healthier clumps.

Garden alterations and re-planning


The winter is a good time to walk round the garden and see what changes you may like to see, either to make the task of maintenance easier, or perhaps to create additional features. If you need any professional help, Rob Blann will be pleased to assist.
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