Its January & Spring is just around the corner, time to get cracking, – time to snip off brown stems of herbaceous plants at ground level, avoiding damage to emerging shoots. Shrubs & perennials will benefit from a mulch of compost or bark around their roots to conserve soil moisture & discourage annual weeds. Time to finish taking Hardwood Cuttings from Shrubs Trees & Roses. ( See Events / Workshops for ‘How to courses) Planting bare root shrubs, trees & roses. You can use the contents of your compost heap mixed with the soil you have to remove to create the planting hole. Mulch around the bases with the remainder but don’t make contact with the stems. Tidy borders before the new shoots emerge, Pick off any hellebore leaves that have black blotches or are looking untidy. Prune wall climbers away from gutters & window frames. You have until the end of Feb. to prune dogwoods, buddliea & roses. Cover Gunnera with straw or leaves to protect from the frost. Dig deeply to remove persistent perennial weeds. Rejuvenate Rhubarb by lifting the clump with as much root as you can manage, pull apart dividing into smaller pieces and discard the oldest central portion which will be no longer productive, add manure or compost deeply into the soil then replant the smaller portions with buds resting just above the soil. Bring potted strawberries into the protection of a greenhouse or cold frame to encourage earlier flowering & fruiting. Strawberry plants from the garden can be lifted from the garden & potted up until the end of the month.Keep them watered, Check for greenfly & remove dead leaves regularly. Pick a sunny day to clean greenhouses & cloches.