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Gardening Tips - December

Gardening Tips - December

You can still enjoy the garden in December. The rain in November has made the soil easy to work, so get some fresh air while you’re digging and planting. Even though the days are shorter, there’s still plenty of scope for being in the garden and you can make the most of the bright weather to prepare for winter.

Here are a few things to be getting on with:

Plant winter honeysuckle. It has clusters of lightly scented white flowers from now until March and grows to about 6ft by 6ft. Honeysuckle works well in the border, or position it near your back door to enjoy the fragrance when you step outside.

It’s a good time to plant crab apples so long as it isn’t frosty. Suitable winter shrubs for empty patches in your garden are holly bushes or a Christmas box, which is shrub with black berries followed by white flowers. The Skimmia is a favourite of ours and it has lots of flower buds around now.

Plant cyclamen in clusters for Christmas cheer in the garden. You can put them in pots close to the house for a charming festive touch.

 

Pots for your patio

We tend not to venture into the garden so much during the darker winter months, so it’s a good idea to plant up containers to put near the front door or on the patio, where you can see them from the window. Garsons has plenty of plants to choose from and you can buy ready-made planters if you prefer.

Our Plant of the Month, the Christmas rose or hellebore, has attractive flowers that can be teamed with a Skimmia for its festive bright red berries. Add red or white mini cyclamen and you’ve really got Christmas in a pot – gorgeous!

Containers don’t have to be filled with flowering plants. A pot or group of pots planted with a mixture of different coloured foliage can be just as attractive and don’t need much maintenance to stay looking good. Euphorbia, Heuchera, Euonymus and trailing ivy are just a few with fantastic foliage. Have a browse round the garden centre for inspiration.

 

Jobs in the garden

  • In wind-prone areas, roses can be reduced in height by a third to prevent the wind catching them. Buddleia, clematis, wisteria and anything tender can be left until the end of winter
  • Check winter protection such as horticultural fleece is securely in place
  • Prune apples and pears, but not those trained against walls
  • Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops
  • Go through flowerbeds, pulling out weeds and unwanted self-sown seedlings while they are still small
  • Sharpening up lawn edges is a satisfying job. The results are immediately visible and your lawn will look smart all winter
  • Keep on top of leaf raking on your grass and flowerbeds to stop them being a comfy home for slugs and snails
  • If you have strawberries, they will benefit from a protective straw mulch around now
  • You can move or plant deciduous trees as plants are dormant now
  • Give birds some water to drink and splash in, keeping an eye out to see that it doesn’t freeze over. They will be grateful for restocked feeders of nuts, seeds and suet balls

Once you’ve finished all your jobs for December, clean up your garden tools and perhaps drop a few hints about new ones for Christmas!

Merry Christmas and happy gardening