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Friday 1 December 2017

This Month in Your Garden - December

"One kind word can warm three winter months."-  Japanese proverb

Well, ‘be prepared’ the old scout motto also comes to mind as we ready ourselves for whatever winter throws our way. A cleaned greenhouse, well-staked trees and bushes, roses and climbers tied in, the garden machinery oiled and serviced, the shed tidied. Pears and apples pruned (not those against the wall) together with vines; and root crops harvested, leeks and parsnips the heart of winter fare.

Stop the sweet peas grown in October by pinching out their growing tips, last planting of trees and shrubs, new statements in your garden plan. Clear out weedy beds and insulate outside taps. Put away your solar panel and pond pump ready for a rejuvenated spring. Make a list of midwinter tasks and tick them off as you go and don’t forget to water seedlings, cuttings and bulbs under glass if needed, while ensuring greenhouse heaters are working as they should.

Improve clay soil by working in heavy compost such as bark and order well-rotted farm manure or mushroom compost for mulching. Clear leaves off alpines, they don’t like them. Tidy tubs and containers and add a mulch. Take some root cuttings from Papaver – poppies and Phlox. Wrap large tubs in hessian or bubble wrap if they are in danger of cracking as conditions harden.

Who says there’s not much to do in the garden in December? Have a Merry Christmas and see you in a Happy New Year.

  • Finish clearing leaves and debris
  • Raise patio containers onto feet if not already done
  • Sow pelargoniums from seed in a propagator at 18°C/65°F to start them germinating
  • Add statement shrubs or small trees such as Daphne D. Odora aureum marginata and mezereum and Prunus incisa kojo-no-mai to give you a sensational display of blossoms in early spring.
  • 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
  • Flowering cyclamens, primulas, cinerarias and heaths should be give a light place in a temperature of 13 to 16°C/55 to 60°F
  • Move Christmas pot plants after the festive display to the conservatory or greenhouse

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