What shall I do in January?

Although reading of gardens is closely akin to working in them, this is not such a book... In this book the attempt is made to answer the commonest inquiries in the briefest language so that the reader may get his answer and go back to his garden work.
- Alfred C. Hottes, April 1930 -

I enjoy combing the shelves in used book stores for gardening books. I found this little gem in Amherst, MA this past spring. It's an illustrated guide book of over 1,000 questions compiled by Alfred C. Hottes and answered using the "experiences of many lifetimes" of authors, nurserymen, and experienced gardeners. I've been mulling over the calendar section for January ("What shall I do in January?"). Divided into four areas, it tells you what you should do in the library/living room, the home orchard, the small greenhouse and in the garden. Here are a couple snippets:

In the Library or Living Room
  • Read, mark and inwardly digest the catalogs. They are written for you and published at great cost. Treat them as literature and preserve them for future reference.

In the Home Orchard

  • Prune out cankers from apples and pears, and black knot on plums

In the Small Greenhouse

  • Seeds of pansies, English daisies, forget-me-nots, Vinca rosea and snapdragons may be sown for bedding.

  • Start taking cuttings of geraniums, coleus and other bedding plants.

  • Disbud the carnations and roses.

  • Propagate the Lorraine type of begonia with leaf cuttings.

In the Garden

  • Shake the snow from shrub or evergreen branches which are bent to the ground.

  • Save the coal ashes to mix with the heavy soil of your garden.

  • Build a birdhouse.

And I'll add one more item to the "In the Garden" list before I get outside to deal with this morning's weather detail:

  • Shovel out the cold frame.

1 comment:

  1. I love the first tip about catalogs, and how they are published at great expense for us. So true! I had no idea until recently just HOW much they cost. My simple color tri-fold pamphlets are a buck a pop, and they needed to have a proof before even giving an estimate for a catalogue order.

    Since printing my own promo materials I've been so much more respectful of companies which kindly send out their catalogs - especially Tony Avent. His really are fine garden literature.