Tasks which should be undertaken at this time of year

I’ve been looking at the two-page January section of my dad’s 1940’s gardening book by Richard Sudell. After a few concise but well written sentences of an introduction, he lists the tasks which should be undertaken at this time of year. Now climate change is with us, maybe it would be better to look at next month’s gardening chores!

As with all the months in this calendar to-do list, there’s all-purpose work, and then each area of the garden is addressed, the food plot, the fruit garden, the flower patch, before he gives instruction for general maintenance, the sort of thing which can be undertaken ‘if mild spells occur’.

  • make and repair paths
  • keep evergreens free from snow as far as possible
  • use creosote or white lead paint on all garden woodwork except oak, teak and red cedar: these woods need no preservative
  • if cement is used in repair work, keep it well covered in frosty weather until it is quite dry, otherwise it will crack badly

He goes on through non-living edges, tools, fertilisers and insecticides, stakes and plant labels, old pots and crocks to be used for drainage, and tubs, dower-boxes and plant vases.

I’m sure along with the white lead paint, many of the preparations and insecticides are now banned… gardening used to be a dangerous place – and gave many plots to crime writers! The last section is all about under glass, getting ready for the year ahead,.. The garden then was an all round activity despite the weather – it must have been a colder and tougher job then!


  1. Klausbernd

    Dear Lois
    Coming from Scandinavia we were always happy when the evergreens were covered with snow that kept them warm. The frost is most desastrous in the garden to everything that’s above the snow. Where we came from we had about 2 m of snow every winter from November to March, that means more or less every plant was covered with snow and survived well.
    Wishing you a healthy and happy 2022
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      That’s so interesting – I’m happy that snow is benign and naughty frost is so dangerous. I love snow and so disappointed we see it so rarely here in the warm southwest. We fist moved here when I was sixteen and came from Cambridge where winters were bitter with the cold east wind. Weston seemed so mild and balmy, even when we had snow. I moved north to Manchester and lived there for many years and we did have snowy cold winters… now we’re back in the southwest, back to mild and lots of rain :-
      Happy New Year to you all dear Fab Four, and all the very best for 2022 x

      Liked by 1 person

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