JANUARY is regarded as the most depressing month of the year and it’s not difficult to see why.

People are spent up and feeling down after the festive holidays, the days seem short and getting out of a bed can be a bit of a drag.

Our gardens might not be looking up to much either.

But I still think they are the perfect antidote for the end-of-holiday hangover.

Take solace in the arrival of green shoots as the daffodils and snowdrops arrive and soak up the fresh air to blow away some cobwebs.

Exercise is good for our mental health so stimulate yourself by getting stuck into some jobs:

  • Get the last of the leaves cleared up. No doubt, if you are anything like me, there will still be some on your lawns.
  • Give your lawns a high cut. If the temperature is five degrees or above it keeps on growing and it has rarely been below that over winter.
  • Tidy up your borders as best you can in time for the composting.

Around this time of year one of the gardeners’ main jobs is pruning.

Many people will have wisteria like the one in our Flag Garden and it is always first for the chop because it is tough as old boots.

You can prune it now without any subsequent risk because it won’t be affected by frosts.

For those of you with roses, things are a little more complicated.

Our roses are starting to bud now, which could be the signal to start pruning.

However, the growth spurt this will encourage could be halted by a frosty spell so beware and don’t fall into the trap of pruning the roses too early.

Many people are afraid of pruning, but my top tip is to simply be consistent.

If you are a heavy pruner stick with that and if you prune lightly then that is ok too.

The most important thing is consistency because it allows plants to get used to a routine.

It might be cold out there, but don’t use that as an excuse to put off the pruning until it is too late.

First signs of snow

At Arley we have the first signs of snow – snowdrops that is!

There are plenty at Arley this year – the result of six years of planting, dividing and splitting the drifts.

Visit us to see them for yourselves as they line the Woodland Walk and are scattered through The Grove.

Also adding colour are patches of crocus, our daphnes and witch-hazel.