The Garden Muse : Gardening in January

Published 3:51 pm Thursday, January 12, 2023

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the Garden MuseMost people don’t think of January as a month when gardening activities are performed.

About this time of year after all the holiday festivities have ended and the decorations have been safely packed away my mind starts thinking about gardening. I start longing for Spring and gardens renewed.

Contrary to what many believe there are a few gardening tasks that can be executed in the cold winter month of January. First on my list is pruning. Some common shrubs that can be pruned in January include Abelia, Arborvitae, Beautyberry, Boxwood, Chaste tree (Vitex), Cherry Laurel, Crape Myrtle, Eunymus (deciduous & evergreen), Gardenia, Hibiscus (rose of Sharon), Hydrangea (summer blooming), Nandina, Spirea (Spring & Summer blooming), Sumac, and Yew. Some deciduous trees can also be pruned at this time like Alder, Birch, Stewartia, and some evergreens. For a complete list of what can be safely pruned and proper pruning technique in January please visit the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener site at https://pubs.

January is a good month to check and repair if needed any of the hardscaping in the garden. This would include sheds, walkways, fences, benches, statuary, gardening containers, and decorations.

I also unpack and set up my indoor grow lights to germinate seeds for a head start on planting in the spring.

It is also a great time to freshen up any birdhouses before nesting time arrives. A thorough cleaning inside and out, structural repairs if needed and maybe a new coat of paint not only contributes to the health and welfare of the wild birds, but it will also prove beneficial to extending the life of the bird house itself in the long run.

Any day in the garden is a good day.

Dawn Conrad is a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Herbal enthusiast, Writer and Fiber Artist. She can be contacted at dawn@