Erna's Top Tips for your December Garden

Erna’s Top Tips for your December Garden

As the nights draw in early and the days start out late with crisp cold days of watery sunshine your garden is having a good rest too but there are many little jobs to be done now in preparation for spring and summer.

In the garden

Dig over empty borders and prepare your soil for next year’s planting. Add manure on top and let the frost and worms do their job.

Protect any sensitive plants against the cold by using a good mulch and where needed a frost cover or move them indoors if possible. Add fresh grit or gravel to Alpine plants to help protect them.

Lift Daliah tubers once leaves have blackened and store in a dry place. Now is also the time to plan your spring bulb planting as the bulbs will start appearing for sale soon after Christmas. Also your potatoes, onion and shallot order should be done by now ready for delivery and planting in January.

Group potted plants together in a sheltered spot as this helps protect the roots from severe frost.

Start pruning back plants such as Wisteria by cutting back summer side shoots to 2 or 3 buds. Climbing roses can be pruned now and new shoots tied to the supports. Japanese maples (Acers), birches and vines need to be pruned now as they will bleed if done later causing damage to the plants.

If your roses had any pests or disease’s in the summer now is a good time to cut out any diseased wood and pick up any leaves that have any blackspot or mildew on and dispose of these, do not add them to your compost bin as this will cause the spread in the new season.

Leave the faded flowers on Hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs as this protects the new buds from frost and cold.

Make sure that other climbers, trees and large shrubs are securely tied to their stakes to prevent them getting blown to bits in the winter storms, also check that the stakes or trellises are secure and in good order. You can use this time to check your fence panels to make sure they are secured as well.

Many of our wild animals will have gone into hibernation like hedgehogs and frogs. Many birds have gone south for the winter however we still have many birds in the garden and they could all use your help in getting through the winter. Clean the birdbath and feeders and stock up on fat balls and dried meal worms.

Avoid walking on frosty lawns to prevent damage, and now is the time to have your mower’s serviced ready for the summer. Spike lawns to help with aeration and drainage, remove any fallen leaves to prevent diseases developing on your lawns.

Christmas

  • Harvest holly with berries for making Christmas garlands and wreathes, stand them in a bucket of water till you need them or order yours online from our shop.
  • Purchase your potted Christmas tree early to avoid disappointment or alternatively order your fresh cut Christmas tree from our shop. Once you have had all the excitement of choosing your tree and getting it home, cut the first few inches off the trunk of the tree and put it into a bucket of water, this helps keep it fresh for longer. We also recommend a tree stand with a water bowl where you can add water to help keep your tree fresher for longer.
  • Protect your poinsettias from cold draughts and allow them to dry out slightly between watering’s to make them last for the whole Christmas period and well into January
  • Did you know the colourful wrappers of Quality Street sweets are compostable? They’re made from cellulose, derived from wood pulp, so rather than chuck them in the bin, add them to your compost heap!
  • You can now bring in your Hyacinth and Amaryllis bulbs that you prepared in the Autumn ready to flower at Christmas or order yours from our web shop or in the garden centre.

In the vegetable garden

Lift the last of your leeks and parsnips before the soil becomes frozen, and heel them in to a trench besides a convenient path. They will keep for several months like this.

Remove yellowing leaves from winter brassicas as this can harbour pests and disease. Cover them with netting to protect them from the birds.

Cut down dead asparagus foliage and the top growth of Jerusalem Artichokes.

Dig a trench for next year’s beans and fill it with compostable kitchen waste (Not cooked food) and recover with soil. This will rot and improve the growing conditions,

Keep frost fleece to hand to protect salad crops such as winter lettuce, winter cress, purslane and corn salad on cold nights.

Protect any other plants with straw or mulch.

Prune fruit trees and grape vines.

Apply glue bands or grease bands to trunks of fruit trees to prevent the wingless female winter moth climbing the trees and laying their eggs in the branches.

Lift and divide Rhubarb clumps to renew the plants vigour. Sections taken from the outside of the plant are better than those from the centre.

If you have not already done so clean out your glasshouse, washing it down with a disinfectant to prevent disease next season. Also spend some time cleaning out your garden shed, water buts and gutters.

Brush heavy snow off the tops of greenhouses and cold frames to prevent glass damage.

Insulate taps and pack away hoses that are not required.

From all of us here at Singletons Nurseries we wish you all a joyous festive season 🎄🎅