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Monday 2 December 2013

This Month in your Garden – December

December in the garden can be taken at a more leisurely pace than autumn although, depending on the size of your plot, there is usually plenty to keep you occupied.

Garden structures such as trellis and fences need checking for damage and repair.

Greenhouses need cleaning. Finish turning soil and moving shrubs and plants if it’s still mild. If you want to grow pelargoniums from seed it’s best to start now. You will need a propagator to give them a minimum temperature of 18°C/65°F to start them germinating.

Take a tour round the garden and think about how it looked through this year and what you might do to improve its structure and form with the addition of trees, shrubs and planting for colour throughout the year. Adding a small tree such as a Prunus incisa kojo-no-mai or Fuji cherry gives you a sensational display of blossoms in early spring.

Daphnes such as D. odora aureum marginata and mezereum flower in February and fill the garden with perfume. Philadelphus, the mock orange does the same.

Evergreens like skimmias and offer colour through the winter with foliage and buds. Ilex aquifolium ‘T.C.van Tol is a holly that gives bright display all year. These and others, like mahonias, euphorbia and winter heathers are ‘statement’ plants that give the garden structure and are then complemented by climbers, roses, bulbs and bedding plants through the year.

  • Stop sweet peas sown in October by pinching out their growing tips 
  • Last planting of trees and shrubs
  • Water seedlings, cuttings, bulbs and other plants under glass if needed
  • Make sure all plant protection, ties and supports are in place and secure
  • Service garden machinery, tools, water pumps
  • Place orders for spring delivery
  • Make a checklist of mid winter and late winter tasks such as repotting or top-dressing trees in containers, prepare trees for layering, coppicing and pollarding trees
  • Move Christmas pot plants used for the festive display to the conservatory or greenhouse
  • Flowering cyclamens, primulas, cinerarias and heaths should be give a light place in a temperature of 13 to 16°C/55 to 60°F

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