December in the garden
December is wrap up for Winter time!
Check on tender plants outdoors to ensure winter protection is still in place especially after storms. Bracken can be used to protect the crown of tender plants such as penstemon and salvias.
Pruning and renovation of many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can be carried out from now throughout the dormant season.
Exceptions are Prunus species (e.g. ornamental cherries, plums and almonds) as these are vulnerable to silver leaf disease when pruned in Autumn or Winter.
December is the ideal time to prune Silver birch and ornamental and fruiting grapevines also Japanese maples. Prune by Christmas to avoid bleeding stems.
Shrubs can also be lifted and moved if the weather is kind.
Renovate overgrown roses by cutting out a third of the old growth to encourage fresh stems.
If your pond has frozen over, this can be fatal to fish and other pond life. Make a hole in the ice by holding a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do not crack the ice as it is harmful to fish.
In mild areas and during dry spells, you can still lift and divide herbaceous perennials. This will increase stocks and revive tired or poorly flowering clumps.
When putting lawnmowers and hedge trimmers away for winter, ensure they are clean and dry before storing. Drain out any fuel as unleaded petrol doesn’t keep and may cause problems next year when trying to start up machines.
Take action to remove algae from paths if they start to become slippery.
Make sure all outside taps and stand- pipes are lagged and irrigation lines are drained to avoid damage from freezing.
Harvest holly with berries for making Christmas garlands and wreaths; stand them in a bucket of water until you’re ready to use them before the birds beat you to it!