What to do in your garden in January

Jim McCausland,  – December 10, 2004


Bare-root stock. Sunset climate zones 4-7, 17: Bare-root plants areinexpensive and easy to transport and plant. Many nurseries andgarden centers offer everything from fruits like apples, grapes,and strawberries to perennial vegetables like asparagus. Look forornamentals too: roses, flowering trees, and vines.

Hardy perennials. Start seeds of aster, delphinium,hellebore, primrose, Shasta daisy, veronica, and viola in acoldframe or greenhouse. Transplant seedlings into the garden abouta month before the last spring frost.

Order seeds. Local seed sources offer varieties that growwell in the Northwest. Check out their websites or call forcatalogs: Ed Hume Seeds (www.humeseeds.com or800/383-4863); Garden City Seeds (www.irish-eyes.com or509/964-7000); Nichols Garden Nursery (www.nicholsgardennursery.comor 800/422-3985); Peters Seed and Research (www.pioneer-net.com/psr/);Territorial Seed Company (www.territorial-seed.comor 541/942-9547); and West Coast Seeds (www.westcoastseeds.com or604/952-8820). The Port Townsend, Washington, offices ofAbundant Life Seeds (www.abundantlifeseeds.comor 541/767-9606), a longtime favorite, were destroyed in afire; the firm’s assets were bought by Territorial Seed Company,which will continue to publish Abundant Life’s catalog ofopen-pollinated certified-organic seeds, including heirlooms.

Winter-blooming shrubs. Zones 4-7: Scout nurseries forblooming specimens of Camellia sasanqua, sarcococca, Viburnum x bodnantense, wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), and various witch hazels (Hamamelis).


Care for houseplants. Rinse indoor foliage plants under ashower of tepid water to wash off dust. Give flowering plants alight dose of liquid fertilizer to encourage more blooms.

Feed asparagus, rhubarb. Spread a 2-inch layer of compostedmanure over beds of dormant asparagus and rhubarb.

Prune fruit trees. On a day when the temperature is abovefreezing, prune out dead, diseased, and injured branches. Thenremove closely parallel, rubbing, or crossing branches. Finally,prune for shape.

Prune roses. Cut back hybrid tea roses to the most vigorousthree to five canes, removing any diseased and injured canes as yougo. Prune landscape roses to shape. If you’re growing rugosa roses,now is a good time to dig up and transplant (or discard) thesuckers that pop up around each plant.

Spray dormant oil. To smother overwintering insect eggs andlarvae, spray leafless fruit trees and roses with horticulturaloil.