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Tuesday 6 December 2022

This Month in Your Garden - December

 "It is the middle of December. The nights are longer, the weather is colder, winter comes." Selena Fox

Winter for us officially begins on the 1st of December and by the middle of the month, as the festivities approach, there's probably little time to contemplate the garden. Besides, you will have already finished pruning roses, planting containers for winter flowering colour and putting in evergreen shrubs in borders as architectural statements. 

The traditional Christmas carol tells us of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown. The stately Ilex aquifolium J.C. van Tol is an evergreen self-fertile holly that doesn't need a male pollinator and bears red berries. So it delights the eye and the birds in the depths of winter. Sarcococca hookeriana, a member of the box family, bears highly scented white flowers opening from red buds in winter. Spherical fruits that ripen from red to black follow.

Dogwoods bring a winter flame to the garden and any of these shrubs can still be planted in December if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. Look forward to Prunus, the early flowering decorative cherry varieties, Daphne odora aureum marginata and mezereum and Philadelphus which all will be early bearers of flowers and perfume. 

It's a good time to gaze upon the garden when there's a spare moment and consider what you want to do come spring. As always, a thumb through the gardening catalogues will bring added inspiration and brighten the darkest of days. Here are some other jobs to be done when you have time:

  • Plant bare rooted roses, ornamental trees and deciduous shrubs
  • You can plant Sarcococca and Daphne odora in pots by the door for winter fragrance
  • Clean the greenhouse, mend fences and protect tender plants
  • Rake up fallen leaves in borders that may be concealing slugs 
  • Bird feeders hung near roses will attract birds that will also peck away pests
  • Move plants in pots to sheltered areas if the weather is exceptionally cold. 


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