Here are some things to do in the garden in January...

* Try sun-loving combinations of ornamental grasses, gazanias or dwarf orange marigolds; mauve angelonia with purple petunias and lobelia; Browallia “Jingle Bells” and mauve ageratum with neon-pink vinca. Complement bright pink petunias and red-purple verbena with silver-grey santolina, and lime-green nicotiana with pink mini petunias and nutmeg pelargonium.

* To attract a variety of butterflies to your garden, plant scabious, buddleja, pentas, verbena, daisies and cosmos and make sure there are a couple of shallow mud puddles and sun-baked rocks. Herbs that supply food for butterflies include pennyroyal, lavender, catmint and thyme.

* Known as the spider plant because of the shape of its narrow white and pink petals and long seed pods, cleome is an elegant choice for the back of a border. The cup-shaped pink and white flowers of lavatera contrast well with the flowers of cleome.

* If you wish to make a small garden appear larger and more interesting, an archway or sections of trellis can be used to divide one part from another.

l Annuals have a natural tendency to set seed and stop blooming. By deadheading and fertilising flowering plants once a month you encourage them to continue flowering.

* Give chrysanthemums a final pinch back to encourage them to bush and produce more flowers in autumn.

* A garden diary is useful for recording planting, flowering and harvesting times throughout the year. It is also interesting to keep a record of the daily maximum and minimum temperature and rainfall. - Weekend Argus