Moving containers under cover
January often brings the first hard frosts of winter and plants in pots and baskets are especially vulnerable. Move them to a more protected area or greenhouse if possible until milder weather returns.
Avoiding snow damage If heavy snowfalls build up on specimen conifers, there is a risk that some branches may get pulled out of position or break. To prevent this happening, either regularly shake off loose snow or tie loops of soft garden twine down the length of the plant to hold the branches in place. Large evergreen shrubs such as Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata) are also vulnerable to snow damage, as the weight of the snow causes the branches to tear and fall outwards, leaving a hollow centre. Support with a criss-cross of twine running through the middle of the plant.
Planting trees and shrubs
If the weather is suitable you can continue to plant deciduous shrubs and trees in containers. Once planted, move to a sheltered spot to avoid windrock and desiccation.
Tidying winter containers
Pick off fading flowers and foliage and trim back any frost-damaged shoots. Replace any dead plants and check the compost is not too dry.