JANUARY is usually the month of mulching and watering.
But during the past two summers we haven't had to consider mulching or even turning on the tap - I put my hand up, I'm guilty.
When last week's temperatures were predicted, I looked out on my patio and thought I should at least give my two topiary lilly pillies a good drink and then realised how sad they looked.
I hadn't watered them since they received the Christmas Day rain, where in fact I should have been treating them to a drink each day.
It's time to recharge your watering systems if you don't have automatic watering then spend time in the cool of the day, at least watering the veggie garden or shallow rooted-plants such as azaleas and camellias. It can be quite relaxing.
Secondly, apply water retention products like Saturaid, then top up with a good mulch - I prefer sugar cane as it adds nitrogen to the soil.
Those who prefer a more structured look could try tea tree mulch, my customers tell me it also keeps mozzies away.
By now your living Christmas tree should be outside in a sheltered position, earning a well deserved rest - and don't plunge it straight out into the hot sun.
If this has been done already, ease your tree gradually back into the sun, give it a good soak and apply Flourish to stimulate growth.
Annuals that have finished flowering should be dug out or cut back - apply Flourish if a decision is made to leave them, but otherwise refertilise empty beds before replanting.
Stonefruit and tomatoes that have fallen should be cleaned up and disposed of to discourage fruit flies from multiplying.
Roses should have a boost with Sudden Impact and NSW Christmas bush will need a feed of blood and bone.
Now to the last of the January chores.
When a severe weather warning is issued, apply one of the anti-stress products to newly planted or susceptible plants, give the ground a good soak and never prune back hedges to soft growth that can be burnt.