December garden advice and maintenance
- 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
- 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.