When it never seems to stop raining and the lawn is a pond. Or the ground is so frozen that your hand sticks to the spade handle. It is easy to go off gardening as a hobby. But this is the best time of year to look at the garden as a whole.
Is the shape of the open areas lawn paths or patio pleasing? It is the shape that makes a garden an enclosing refuge, or feel uncomfortably open.
Could a bit more evergreen structure help to define corners and spaces.? Neat clipped shrubs like Box Buxus sempervirens, or bold erect leaves, Phormium tenax or Cordyline australis whatever style you like.
Is the path in the right place or does everybody take short cuts across the grass? Could it be moved.
Is the working area organised and large enough for all the spare pots and sacks?
What is in flower or looking good now?
It is easy enough to have something in flower every month of the year, but you have to plan it and put winter flowering plants where they can be seen from paths or windows. My favourite is winter flowering Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima but it can get big and straggly so placing in the right spot is important, whereas dwarf daffodils can be tucked in anywhere.
A small garden should be presentable all year round, otherwise its just depressing. There are so many great plants out there waiting to be discovered, its such a shame to let your garden be dull or bleak. Get out and visit a winter garden like the one at Hilliers Garden Romsey to see what can be done.
However I like January as its the only month where I feel I can get ahead of nature, though I know it won’t last long.