Check out our gardening reminders for the month of December put together by chairman and horticulturist John Richardson.
1.After long periods of November rain, often heavy, fallen leaves have become a congealed mass on lawns and many garden corners, try and clear them away to the compost heap before they start to rot and affect so many plants such as herbaceous, alpines, low growing shrubs and plants in containers.
2.Any plants which are now too big for their location or ‘in the wrong place’ can be safely moved, and the soil in December is usually warm enough to stimulate the production of new roots. Stake tall new plants to prevent wind rock until well-rooted and reduce their size if appropriate.
3.Place undercover any tender plants which have been overlooked earlier in the autumn and ensure that such plants growing in the ground are wrapped in straw and hessian, polythene is not the best material as it prevents air from getting to the plant.
4.If you intend to get on with the winter digging, cover a suitable area with polythene so that the ground is not waterlogged when you wish to dig.
5.Clean moss and lichens from paths and walls. There are several commercial brands of cleaner available, but bleach is equally as good. A power washer will make light work of the job, which is impressive when completed!
6.Lower temperatures and frost is forecast, make sure your bird feeding stations are clean and regularly refilled. The same applies to an accessible water supply. Remember, cooked food as opposed to birdseed may well attract vermin.
7.with long periods of rain expected, don’t forget to put a glass or plastic sheet over your alpine plants to keep off the majority of the rain.
8.Now is a good time to plant roses, heel then in if soil conditions are not suitable for immediate planting.
9.Before planting trees and shrubs ensure roots are moist by soaking in a bucket or similar.
10. This month is a good time to prune Birch and Acers. Trim the lawn edges for a quick lift!
11. Check apples and other stored fruits for signs of rotting and throw out damaged fruit for the birds. Remove mummified fruits from the apple trees.
12. Start Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs into growth urgently if required to flower by Christmas.
13. Tidy up the greenhouse during inclement weather, and also prune glasshouse grown grapevines.
14. Be ready to plant tulip bulbs after the middle of the month to reduce tulip disease (Tulip Fire).
15. Insulate with bubble-wrap and hessian those plant containers which are to be left outside over winter, in order to prevent the pots cracking in frosty periods.
16. Thoroughly clean and grease the lawnmower and sharpen or replace the blades.
17. The earlier any winter digging can be done, the better, as this allows rain, snow, frost and ice to break down clods of soil and make cultivation in the spring so much easier.