This Month in the Garden – January



Mid-Atlantic Region

January Maintenance Guide


January is a good time to look back on your gardening year and to plan ahead.

Now is a good time to walk around your garden, shoot some photos and make a wish list of your garden’s hopes and dreams.

It is always a good idea to photograph your garden each month as a photo journal of what is blooming when. But also, looking at your garden through the lens is telling. What you see and what others see are often time two different things. We all have our priorities. What you may pass by everyday because you got use to looking at it will show up and be noticed in print. philbrookraleighyoest-13

It’s no different when seeing one’s self in a photograph. Most of us don’t like what we see, we start picking it apart. Do you like what you see in your garden photographs? So while it is a good idea to walk around your garden to jot down ideas and what needs to be done, it is a better idea to evaluate what you see from photographs.

Take a good look around. January is a good time to look back on your gardening year.  Are there things you would like to change?  Make a list, keep it handy, and add to it as necessary and check off the tasks once completed…it’s a good feeling.


february-2008-12You will begin to see bulb foliage begin to emerge. It’s OK. The leaves are hardy and if harmed, they’ll grow more. Keep bulbs mulched so they aren’t lifted by heaving resulting from repeated freeze and thaw.


Check that the crown of the rose bush is still covered. Often times, winter winds can blow mulch away.


As the tips of your daffodils emerge, add a general 10-10-10 fertilizers or a fertilizer especially designed for bulbs such as Holland Bulb brand.

Figs do fine in many soil types, but perform best in slightly alkaline soil.  To aid in this, given our areas natural acid tendencies, I add powered dolomite limestone (CaCo3) to my bushes.  The figs in Helen’s Haven receive 2 cups for the big one and 2 cup for the smaller one.

To keep your pansies happy, apply an organic fertilizer such as bone meal or root simulator fertilizer designed specifically for pansies following the label directions.  Re-apply every 4 – 6 weeks.


Stay on top of your weeding by handpicking your weeds from the grass and beds on a routine basis.  Dig up wild onions and garlic as they emerge.  I like to walk my gardens daily and note what needs to be done, creating a to-do list.  Then weekly, I will get working on my list!


Plants in the winter still need water. We usually get a gracious plenty of rain in the winter and in the spring, but in times of drought, remember a winter drought can be as severe as a summer one.  In fact, a plant planted in the fall that was not watered sufficiently in the winter and dies in the summer is often times blamed as a summer problem when it was more likely caused in the winter.  Not that this is much consolation for the dead plant. But it does remind us that plants need water even in the winter.

Pansies have a shallow root system – make sure they get watered weekly, if not by nature, then by you.

For your Plumber…leave the hoses attached to your faucets!  Your plumber will love you for it.  If this is not the kind of love you seek, remove the hoses from your faucets so they don’t freeze and bust.


Spray for your aphids, scale and mites with a dormant oil.  This will help to reduce the number of pest.  Wait until the temperature is at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 24 hours.

Camellias (Camellia japonica) really start to shine in January.  To discourage Camellia petal blight, remember to rake spent flowers that have fallen underneath the bushes.


Recycle your Christmas tree to the garden for the birds.  Fill with “ornaments” of pine cones covered with peanut butter rolled in birdseed and add some dried cranberries for color and good eats.  The birds with thank you and you can reap the rewards of watching them enjoy. for-the-birds-291



  1. tina said

    Awww, isn’t she a cutie! The birds will love her treat. My number one task in the garden in winter is weeding those pesky weeds from the grass and still mulching.

  2. Thank you, she is my sweet treat. You will be seeing more of her soon. She and her two will be Nature’s Garden magazine for a story I did called Tweet Treats. On the newsstand January 29th (I think.)

    The weeds in the lawn slay me. They seem to come from nowhere. This yea, I added 500 more early blooming crocus in my lawn, so I better be careful and not mistake their leaf for a weed!

  3. […] January is a good time to look back on your gardening year. Are there things you would like to change Read more: This Month in the Garden – January « Gardening With Confidence ™ […]

  4. I’m still hauling leaf mulch. I’ll be doing it for weeks until these beds all get amended properly. I enjoyed your post and laughed at leaving the hose on the spigot. We did that once and it cost us a $100. Oh my word have I got weeds. They are awful! I will have to pull them soon as it quits raining. My goodness it has been wet for a month. I’m not complaining and neither are the weeds.

  5. I came back here looking for your Zinnia comment. Help? I’ll go ahead and post my answer but will send her a follow up link to you when you get back with me.

    She is asking about sowing the seeds indoor or out. You wrote about your success with spreading them and then covering them with mulch. It was so good that I want to send it to her. She lives in Minnesota. Powdery mildew is a problem too. Anyway—all I need is to find that article.

    Well it’s good I came back and read this as I was going to put my dormant oil on the cherry and crepe myrtles. I didn’t know the temps needed to be above 40. Thank you. I’m trying to kill or suffocate any future bag worms in my River Birches too.

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