Not sure what to do in the garden this December? Check out our garden hints and tips by our chairman and horticulturalist, John Richardson.
1) After a month of November rain, fallen leaves have become a congealed mass In many garden corners. Try and clear them away to the compost heap before they start to rot and affect different plants such as herbaceous, alpines, low growing shrubs and plants in containers. This also applies to the lawn!
2) Any plants which are now too big for their location or ‘in the wrong place’ can be safely moved, 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) Ensure that house drains and run-off areas from the garden are not choked by leaves. A time of year when water can often be found backing up in the most surprising places! We have just had the roots of a 10 yr. Scots Pine fill a 4” pipe from drain to soakaway absolutely solid for 15ft.
4) We are now in for regular frosts and snow, 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.
5) with long periods of rain to be expected, don’t forget to put a glass or plastic sheet over your alpine plants to keep off the majority of the rain. Plant Cyclamen coum for good winter colour.
6) Place tender plants under cover 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.
7) Ensure that outside taps, and taps in unheated buildings, are well insulated for the winter months. Turn off the stop-taps if this is possible to prevent the potential for them freezing.
8) Take the opportunity on dry days to treat fences and sheds with a form of creosote which is not harmful to plants. If you have to remove climbers from the wall, take the opportunity to prune them whilst you have full access, and also check for damage to the fence or wall.
9) 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. Leave the dug surface as rough as possible.
10) 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! Move container bay trees to a sheltered area.
11) Cut back the long shoots of ornamental vines, thin them out and then cut the side shoots back to two buds. Check the greenhouse heater is still working!
12) 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.
13) Trim the lawn edges for a quick lift.
14) Take the opportunity to cut back overgrown hedges, either mechanically on deciduous plants or by the use of a saw or secateurs on large-leafed evergreens such as laurel or rhododendrons. Wait until growth starts in the spring before pruning conifer hedges.
Interested in what plants look good this month, head over to our latest blog post 'Our monthly favourites, December'
Posted 2nd Dec 3:09pm