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15 garden tips for December

15 garden tips for December

The garden might look a bit bare this month, but there are still crops to harvest, shrubs and bulbs to plant, and plans to make for next year when the weather permits. Follow our top 15 gardening tips for December and get your garden ready for a great spring.

Top gardening tips for December

  1. As long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged, you can still plant in December, and it’s an excellent time to plant deciduous hedging shrubs and bare-root roses.

  2. While you’re planting shrubs, why not choose some for winter colour and scent? Christmas box (Sarcococca confusa), wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) and witch hazel (Hamamelis) all look and smell gorgeous at this time of year.

  3. There’s still time to plant spring bulbs like crocuses, daffodils and tulips for masses of colourful flowers in spring.

  4. Wait until after the first frosts to harvest your parsnips, and they’ll taste sweeter. Sprouts and winter cabbage should also be ready to harvest this month, just in time for the festive season.

  5. Lift and divide large clumps of rhubarb to rejuvenate the plants and give you delicious desserts for years to come. Make sure each new section has an ‘eye’ or large bud to provide next year’s shoots.

  6. If you need to prune Japanese maples, now’s the time while they are dormant. 

  7. Prune climbing roses, removing any dead wood, tying in new shoots and cutting back flowered side shoots by two-thirds of their length.

  8. Once dahlia foliage has been blackened by frost, dig up the tubers. Cut off the stems, rinse off the soil, leave them to dry, then place them in trays filled with compost and store them in a cool, dry place over winter.

  9. Rake fallen leaves off your lawn so that sunlight can reach the grass. Clear fallen leaves from beds, too, as they can shelter slugs and snails. 

  10. Raise your patio pots on pot feet to improve drainage and prevent waterlogging, which could kill plants.

  11. Check that tree ties and stakes are secure and stand up to high winter winds.

  12. Top up bird feeders regularly with high-energy seeds and defrost frozen birdbaths so birds can drink and keep their feathers in good shape.

  13. Don’t make your garden too tidy this winter. Leave some dried flower stems standing to provide shelter for overwintering insects, and make a log pile in a hidden corner to give frogs, toads and beetles a home.

  14. Get ready for next year’s gardening. Clean your tools and get shears, secateurs and lawnmowers sharpened now while you have the time.

  15. When the weather’s too cold for gardening, start planning next year’s gardening. Settle down in an armchair with a cup of tea and your notebook, and let your imagination run wild!

Whatever you need for your garden (or just for the gardener in your life), you’ll find it in our centre. Visit us soon to see what’s in store now!

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