What to do in the garden this December
1) After a week of November rain, often heavy, fallen leaves are becoming a congealed mass in 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) Ensure that house drains and run-off areas from the garden are not choked by leaves. It’s a time of year when water can often be found backing up in the most surprising places!
4) When 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 bird seed, may well attract vermin.
5) 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.
6) Place under cover 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.
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.
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!
11) Cut back the long shoots of ornamental vines, thin them out and then cut side shoots back to two buds.
12) Any damaged areas of turf can be replaced by new turfs or exchanged for a similar piece of turf in a less obvious position in the lawn. Do not perform this task when the soil is frozen.
13) Check apples and other stored fruits for signs of rotting and throw out damaged fruit for the birds.
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.
Posted 1st Dec 5:01pm