December’s the perfect time for tidying up the garden and taking stock, thinking about what worked well and what you might change next year. Catch up with all those little jobs you never get time for during the year, like organising your shed and cleaning your tools. And when the days are cold and dark, start planning for next year’s planting! Here are our top 15 gardening tips for December.
Top 15 garden tips for December
Rake up leaves on lawns and put them in a pile, or collect them in black plastic bags to make leafmould. Avoid walking on your lawn when it’s frosted or covered in snow, as this damages the grass.
Clear fallen leaves from beds, as they can harbour slugs and snails. If the leaves are affected with black spot, don’t compost or store them, but put them in your garden waste bin or burn them if permitted.
Wrap pots in bubble wrap or fleece to protect them from frost damage, and put them on pot feet to prevent waterlogging which could kill plants.
Lift and store dahlia tubers once frost has blackened the leaves. Brush off the soil once dry and store the tubers somewhere cool in boxes filled with moist sand.
Plant bare-root roses, as well as deciduous shrubs and trees.
Mulch beds with a soil conditioner or well-rotted farmyard manure. Spread a thick (5cm/2in) layer of mulch on the soil and leave the worms to work it in over winter.
Prune climbing roses, removing any dead wood, tying in new shoots and cutting back flowered side shoots by two-thirds of their length.
Lift and divide large clumps of rhubarb.
Cover winter brassicas like kale and sprouts with netting to stop birds eating them. Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage and sprouts.
Look after your garden wildlife in winter. Keep bird feeders topped up and birdbaths filled with clean water for birds to drink and wash in. Float a ping-pong ball in your birdbath to stop it freezing over in icy weather. Make a log pile in the corner of your garden to provide a home for toads and other garden wildlife.
Take advantage of having less to do in the garden, and clean out your shed. Clean your tools and get shears, secateurs and lawnmowers sharpened ready for next year.
Check tree ties and stakes are secure enough to stand up to winter storms.
Clean your greenhouse, washing the windows, floor and benches with disinfectant to get rid of any pests and diseases.
Water houseplants sparingly in winter, and check that they are not placed too close to radiators.
Scrub patios or pressure-wash them to stop slippery patches of moss building up.
Whatever the time of year, you’ll find everything you need for your garden in our centre. We also have a great range of gifts for the gardener in your life, so come and visit us soon!