December

If you’re wondering what to do in your garden in December, here’s the answer! When those clear winter days appear, grab your tools and make a start on our handy list of December gardening jobs. And if the weather’s cold and grey, then snuggle up indoors and make plans for next year’s gardening glories.

 

What to plant in December 

Witch HazelProvided the soil’s not waterlogged or frozen, December is still a good time to plant, especially deciduous hedging or shrubs. Water them in well once planted, then mulch around the base with compost, taking care not to mulch right up against the trunks of shrubs as this can cause the trunks to rot.

A few plants really stand out at this time of year, with their scented flowers filling the winter air with fragrance. Sarcococca confusa (Christmas box), Viburnum x bodnantense (arrowwood), Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) and Hamamelis (witch hazel) are some of the best shrubs to plant for winter colour and scent.

And if you haven’t planted your spring bulbs yet, there’s still time. Fill pots and borders with crocuses, daffodils and tulips for a beautiful spring display.

December gardening jobs  

  • December’s a good time to prune Japanese maples and birches. Fig, apple and pear trees can also be pruned in December, as can grapevines and wisteria.
  • In cold areas, dig up your dahlias once the first frost has blackened their leaves. Cut off the stems and rinse the soil off the tubers. After they’ve dried, pack them into pots or trays covered with compost, and leave them in a frost-free place over winter.
  • Rake fallen leaves off your lawn to stop dead patches appearing on the grass, and pile the leaves in a corner or store them in black bags to make leafmould.
  • Harvest your root crops, winter cabbage and sprouts for delicious winter roasts and stews.
  • And don’t forget birds are hungry too at this time of year. Keep your bird-feeders topped up with high-energy seeds, and check that bird baths haven’t frozen over. Top Tip: You can prevent ponds, water features and bird baths from freezing over either by draining or by placing a small ball in them.
  • Regularly check that your winter protection structures are still securely in place and that your Greenhouse heater is still working and move patio pots to house wall to give support and protection.
  • Protect evergreens from cold winds by using Horticultural Fleece.
  • Protect treasured plants, especially alpines and bulbs, from slugs by surrounding with pellets.

 

 Planning and preparation

Gardening plans for 2019One of the most enjoyable December gardening jobs is planning next year’s gardening. Once all the leaves in your garden have fallen and the perennials have been cut back, it’s easy to see where the gaps are. Grab your notebook, sit back and plan your spring planting for a garden filled with colour next year.

Pick a clear, dry day and clean out your greenhouse.  Move all the plants somewhere warm, then wash the floor and windows with a disinfectant like Jeyes Fluid to kill any lurking bugs and germs. Finally, clean your tools and get your lawnmower serviced. Now you’re ready for another year of gardening!

Visit our garden centre to stock up on everything you need for next year’s gardening. And we’ve got the perfect Christmas presents for the gardener in your life!