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Gardening tips for December

Gardening tips for December

The last of the leaves fall from the trees as our gardens slip into their winter slumber, leaving a skeleton of plant shapes contrasting against the winter skies. The garden takes on an air of quietness, but on milder winter days, there is much pleasure to be gained from wrapping up and spending a couple of leisurely hours in the garden, in the fresh air and in the company of your resident robin.

Gardening tips for December

Garden Room

  • Bring bowls of forced bulbs inside, such as Hyacinths and Paperwhites, to encourage buds to open for Christmas. Guaranteed to fill the house with their wonderful fragrance, finish the festive look by top dressing with moss, inserting garden twigs to help support the flowers as they grow. If you run out of time to plant your own, visit your local Dobbies Garden Centre for pots of Hyacinths ‘ready-to-go’ for a festive display.
  • Plant indoor cyclamen, three to a basket, for a delightful festive centre piece perfectly suited to a cooler room, porch or conservatory.
  • Poinsettias are quintessential Christmas houseplants, that no home should be without. Originating from the tropics, they love the warmth of our centrally heated homes, being kept well away from the chill of cold draughts. Put into a festive pot cover, they also make great gifts for friends and family.
Gardening tips for December

Terrace Garden

  • Dress the front doorstep to welcome visitors over the festive period. Evergreen Bay trees, Buxus topiary, Blue Spruce and Picea Conica lit with battery lights and a few simple decorations add a classic and seasonal touch.
  • Make your own Christmas wreath for the front door, collecting evergreen foliage, berries, hips and seed heads from the garden and nearby hedgerows. Hand-tie to a willow, wire or plain foliage ring and adorn with selective decorations and bows to reflect your own individual style. Alternatively, choose from our extensive range of fresh, hand-made wreaths available in store.
Gardening tips for December

Beds and Borders

  • As weather allows, winter is the perfect time to plant new hedges, such as beech, hawthorn and privet. Planted now, they will establish in time for the new spring season.
  • In periods of severe cold, wrap tender evergreen in frost protection fleece. In the event of heavy snow, check larger evergreens shrubs and conifers, brushing off excess snow to prevent branches breaking under the weight. Don’t worry about low garden plants, which are happy under a blanket of snow.
  • Continue to cut back and tidy faded cottage garden perennials, adding them to the compost heap. Leave grasses and seed heads for their structural interest, particularly beautiful on frosty mornings. More importantly they help to support our garden birds and create shelter for overwintering insects.
Gardening tips for December

Kitchen Garden

  • Apple and pear trees can be pruned up until February, leaving plums until mid-summer. The aim with freestanding bushes is to create an open goblet shape, around a framework of four or five main branches.
  • New season ranges of soft fruit, including a wide range of raspberry canes are also available for planting now as weather allows.
  • Browse seed ranges now in readiness for the coming spring. New season seeds will be in stores so get ahead by stocking up and do experiment with a few new varieties to expand your grow-your-own offering.
Gardening tips for December

Lawn Care

  • Rake up the last of the leaves which, if left on the lawn, risk damaging the grass by blocking out the light. Alternatively use the mower to clear large areas of lawn, with blades on a high setting. Add leaves to the compost heap, or store separately to rot down into leaf mould.
  • If heavy rain leaves water sitting on the lawn, spike with a garden fork or an aerator to aid drainage and prevent disease.
Gardening tips for December

Garden Tidy

  • Clear fallen leaves from the garden pond and remove pumps to prevent winter damage.
  • Ensure outside taps are insulated or drained prior to the worst of the winter chill.
  • For the benefit of garden wildlife, leave some areas of the garden untouched as a winter sanctuary for insects and hibernating hedgehogs.
Gardening tips for December

Garden Birds

  • One of the joys of winter is watching our colourful garden birds, so reliant on the food and fresh water we put out to sustain them through the winter months. Position feeders as close to the house as possible, using a variety of seeds and suet treats to attract a wide range of birds to your garden. Once they find you, they will become daily visitors, sheltering from the worst of the weather in your trees, shrubs and hedges. Put up nest boxes to entice them to stay in the new spring season.