'Tis the dead of January; what could there possibly be to do in the New England garden now? Much. Though I generally wait for a mild day to do anything; temps above 40 degrees are preferred. And I appreciate sunshine, however weak the rays.
Given such conditions, I grab the pruners and do some trimming on the crabapples, the forsythia, the philadelphus, and other shrubs. Yes, if I waited a few more weeks I could force some branches into bloom, but tempus fugit, and I like to act upon my inclination to work outdoors.
What else is there to be done? Scatter granular fertilizer around the base of broadleaf evergreens such as rhodies..... Pick up branches and pine cones that aren't frozen in place. (They've got to come up by spring anyway).... Clear stone paths and other hard surfaces of leaves and organic debris....Organize your pots for spring work.. ..Start laying in a supply of potting soil, amendments, and other essentials..... Keep on deer repelling....
Yep, there's a host of outdoor garden activities for January and February. And the more you accomplish these short days, the more time you'll have come mid-March when the ground thaws, the days grow longer, and the compost can be turned. That's when the season really starts!