As Christmas approaches, our to-do lists don’t often contain gardening tasks at this time of year. Luckily, you can take it a little easier this month without any risk to your garden; maintenance is the most important thing until spring.
In December it’s all about tidying up, getting as much digging done when it’s not frosty and generally preparing for the worst of the winter weather. You might even think about insulating your cold frame if you have any plants in there. But don’t forget to carry on enjoying the fruits of your summer labour in the shape of jams, jellies, chutneys and fruit syrups.
You can still plant out ferns and grass – they look as lovely covered in frost as they do when in bloom. Grass plants are great for planting under trees, complimenting surrounding plants with their delicate seed heads. Mix ferns up with berries and winter flowering hellebore (Christmas Roses) for an interesting winter display.
- Continue digging and tidying up herbaceous borders
- Start bringing forced bulbs indoors
- Take root cuttings e.g. Hollyhocks and Oriental Poppies
- Cut back late flowering chrysanthemums and take cuttings
- Water over-wintering plants in the greenhouse
- Remove flowering house plants to the greenhouse after Christmas
- Test the ph of your soil and apply lime if necessary. Don’t apply manure at the same time
- Get on with your winter digging so long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged
- Get hold of some well-rotted manure. Farms are ideal or buy it in bags if you have to earth up Spring Cabbages and winter Brassicas
- Pack straw around vulnerable perennials like Artichoke
- Harvest Brussels Sprouts from the bottom up
- Dig up some Leeks and heel them in for easier harvesting
- Spread a layer of well-rotted manure around fruit bushes
- Prune fruit trees but remember to burn all pruning’s as they might be infected with disease or aphid eggs
- Dig your Runner Bean trench – leave it open to the elements for now
- Gather up all your beanpoles, canes and other veg supports from your garden so they don’t deteriorate over winter. Clean off any soil and leave them undercover, ready for next spring.
- December is your last chance to plant fruit trees and bushes, secure the tree loosely to its stake to prevent it from being dislodged from the ground and remember to water when the weather is dry.