December garden advice

December garden advice and maintenance


General gardening

  • Check that greenhouse heaters are working OK
  • Prevent ponds and stand pipes from freezing
  • Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not those trained against walls)
  • Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops
  • Trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted
  • Reduce watering of houseplants
  • Continue to tidy beds and borders, then mulch with compost, well-rotted manure or bark and apply a slow release fertiliser such as bonemeal.
  • Cut back established rose bushes to stop them from snapping in the cold and windy conditions
  • Move delicate pots in greenhouses or wrap in bubble wrap to prevent from freezing
  • Mow if necessary – but only if the grass isn’t wet or frozen, and keep the blades set high

In the greenhouse

  • Clear greenhouse gutters of autumn leaves
  • Line the inside of the greenhouse with bubble-wrap to keep plants warmer.
  • Do not over water your plants, only water when the compost is dry
  • Check plants regularly for pests and disease i.e. moulds and fungus.
  • Ventilate only on warm days

Wildlife gardening

  • Hang bird feeders
  • Fill the birdbath and keep it clean to prevent the risk of disease and keep it free of ice
  • Leave some berries on plants such as holly – they are food for wildlife
  • Leave perennials un-cut for as long as possible – they provide food and shelter
  • Incorporate a few native trees and shrubs into new, more exotic plantings
  • Build a compost heap
  • Feed hedgehogs with proprietary feeds, or with tinned cat or dog food (not bread and milk and not chicken flavour food)
  • Leave tidying borders and shrubs until late Winter or early Spring to provide shelter for insects through the cold weather.