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The Gardening Coach - January 2016
January can be a bit depressing, which is why it’s important to do at least one ‘life-affirming’ gardening job this month. These types of jobs are basically a prescription for physical and mental well-being. Do these jobs and you’ll soon be boasting about how green fingered you are. 

Start by sowing some delicious pea shoots. Soak dried peas in warm water and sow into a tray of seed compost. Within days fresh, green ready-to-eat pea shoots of goodness will be poking through the soil. Cut and add to salads and risottos and you’ll boost your healthy-eating credentials as well as your gardening ones.

Next, plant a small tree or shrub, like the lovely Pearl Bush (Exochorda × macrantha 'The Bride'), which will burst into stunning arches of white blossom in April.

 Finally, do a bit of mulching, (but avoid emerging bulbs). Start with an area closest  to the house and lay 5-10cm of composted bark over any bare soil, taking care not to cover dormant perennials. Then go indoors and make yourself a nice cup of tea and admire your handiwork from the window.

Top Tips for January

Enjoy some chocolate
You may be on a health drive but you can still indulge in gorgeous the gorgeous new Hellebore ‘Harvington double chocolate’ which flowers from February to April.

Prune grasses
Perennial grasses like Miscanthus can be cut to the ground by the end of January before new green growth begins.

Tackle wisteria
Wisterias are pruned in two stages. In January it’s time to prune whippy stems back to two buds to maximise flowering in July.
 
Divide winter aconites
Beautiful butter yellow winter aconites can be dig up and divided after flowering, but leave the foliage in place to die back naturally.

Plan ahead
Ordering flower seeds now, such wonderful  Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’, to sow indoors in March will get your garden off to a great start as spring arrives.
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