Jobs for January

A new year has arrived, bringing all the potential excitement (and uncertainty!) that every gardener looks forward to. For some of us, the new gardening year actually started last autumn (when we planted our sweet peas or our biennials) but, for others, the new gardening year won’t really start until we see that first snowdrop bob into bloom (not too far away now, we hope!).  Whichever side of that debate you sit on, here are our top five jobs to be getting on with in your garden this month.

Prune Fruit Trees

tree pruning

A former colleague of ours was adamant that Boxing Day was the best time to prune fruit trees (although we think it was just his excuse to get out of visiting his in-laws!)  In reality, you can prune fruit trees at any time while they are dormant, from leaf-drop (usually around November) to the buds bursting out in early March. January tends to be the time that most people will prune their apple and pear trees. Focus on the three ‘D’s, removing dead, damaged or diseased branches first, then reduce and reshape to a manageable and pleasing size.  It’s helpful to know where your tree grows its fruit (on new or last year’s growth) but this great article from the RHS puts minds at rest for anyone who isn’t sure,


Take Cuttings


You might think the weather is too cold to think about taking cuttings, but some plants prefer it when they are dormant.  Now is a good time to take root cuttings of fleshy-rooted perennials (such as oriental poppies, verbascums or acanthus) and of thinner-rooted plants like phlox and Japanese anemones. You can also take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs, such as viburnum, forsythia and willow.

Take your cuttings and pot them on quickly, before they dry out, in free-draining compost. Cover them and water well, from above to make sure they are in good contact with the soil.  Place them somewhere bright but away from extremes of weather and temperature. Depending on the plant, it can take a few weeks for small, new leaves and roots to start forming.

If you’ve never taken root cuttings before, try this simple guide from Gardener’s World magazine.


Mend Your Fences

broken fence

With climbers and larger plants now reduced, now is a very good time to be able to see and access fences and other wooden garden structures.  As birds are not nesting yet, it’s also a good time if you need to trim back ivy or Virginia creeper if it’s gone mad over a fence or pergola!

Check to see what’s wobbly or damaged and repair or replace as appropriate. Based on recent years, we can probably expect some further high winds and storms into February and March so work now could save you some emergency repairs in future.

On dry days, now is a good time to apply stains, preservatives or treatments to outdoor wood. Of course, we would urge you to go chemical-free where you can (particularly no petroleum-based or metals-based ingredients) and ensure your garden remains planet-friendly.  However, the reality is that – once they have dried – many modern treatments aren’t likely to be harmful to children, pets or wildlife, so please just choose with care!


Feed the Birds

bird houses

As winter really bites, our feathered garden helpers could do with our support.  There are fewer seeds and berries around, and natural sources of water may be frozen, so do think about making your garden a snack-stop.  Bird baths should ideally have their water refreshed daily but certainly as often as you remember to.  On particularly cold days, you may need to melt the ice more than once a day. High energy foods (like those containing suet pieces) are great to help them through, too.  We have a wide range of Tom Chambers food and feeders in store if you want to stock up.  Remember to clean your feeders regularly too, to prevent the spread of diseases affecting garden birds.

Before the nesting season gets underway, now is also a good time to put up bird boxes. The size, position and type of entrance your bird box has will determine what type of bird is likely to call your box home. Ideally, a selection of different boxes in your garden will encourage the widest range of birds.  As you’d expect, there is some great advice from the RSPB here



With the evenings still fairly dark, if you didn’t have your head in the gardening catalogues before, now is the time to plan ahead!  Go through your seed packets and sort out which are out-of-date (or empty!) so you know what to order for this year. Seed potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic bulbs will be available to order now for planting in early spring. You may also be able to order bare-root plants now (from fruit bushes to roses and shrubs) to plant any time the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged.

If you are a regular veg’ grower, plan this year’s planting to ensure you grow each type of crop in a different bed to previous years; this ‘crop rotation’ helps to prevent any pests and diseases carrying over from one year to the next.




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”