December Gardening: Some Chores Can’t Wait

Last update: 5 months ago

3 min read

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Gardens and gardeners alike should both take advantage of the fact that nature allows a rest at this time of year. There’s less to do in a midwinter garden than at any other time of year but the tasks that do need attending to are important.

Weather Protection

Tenderer container plants will already be indoors or in the greenhouse or conservatory, for others it’s sufficient to wrap the pots in some sort of insulation material. Bubble wrap is ideal if you happen to have some to hand, and many of us do at this time of year! Check greenhouse heating to be sure it’s working as it should and again remember that insulation can save you a fortune on fuel bills. Make sure that ponds are outdoor water pipes are protected to prevent them freezing.

Digging Over Beds

This is a weather dependant job, when the ground is wet you’ll just compact the soil and do more harm than good. Cold frosty conditions are ideal for a number of reasons however:

  • The frost itself helps break up and condition heavy soils
  • Exposing roots of perennial weeds to cold may kill them and at will at least weaken them.
  • Hungry birds will be delighted to assist your gardening efforts by eating any pests and grubs you turn up
  • Digging is great exercise at this time of year!

You might be cold at the start, so do work gently to start with, it’s all too easy to strain a muscle in a burst of gardening enthusiasm!.You’ll warm up quickly enough from the effort however and in a few hours you’ll have given your winter sluggish metabolism a great work out!

Keep Bird Feeders and Water Containers Topped Up

Your feathered friends are an asset to your garden but winter’s tough on birds. Give them fat balls, the high calorie content will help them cope with the winter weather and ensure they have access to fresh unfrozen water too. Encourage birds to your garden in the winter and they’ll reward you in the spring and summer by helping to keep pests under control.

Pruning Free Standing Apple and Pear Trees

Trees grown against walls should have been pruned in August and plums and cherries are best pruned in summer to reduce the risk of silver leaf disease, but the dormant season is the right time to prune open grown apples and pears. If you’re not confident about pruning ask your Fantastic Gardeners to do it for you or to show you how. This is also the right time to prune acers, birches and vines, it’s a great time to take hardwood cuttings and it’s not too late to transplant deciduous trees and shrubs.

Plan Your Summer Garden

This is of course our favourite midwinter task and it’s a perfect way to reward yourself after your digging! Get out your books, your seed catalogues and browse the internet, sketch out our ideas and dream of summer fruits and flowers. From December 21st the days start to draw out and although it’s hard to believe right now, spring will be here before you know it!

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