Plant snowdrops, pick out your favourite cultivar and plant them in the green, when they are in full leaf. These will establish much better than dry bulbs planted in the autumn.
Prune roses, you can prune most shrub roses now. Remove one or two stems from the base and take the rest back by a third. Feed with organic granular feed afterwards.
Move shrubs. As long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen you can move most deciduous shrubs now. Dig them up with as much root as possible and replant immediately.
Prune apples and pears. Start with branches crowding the centre and remove no more than a quarter of the canopy.
Cut back late flowering clematis in pruning group 3 (such as Viticellas). Cut all growth to healthy buds 15-30cm above soil level.
Protect your soil. Keep off the soil to avoid compaction, which can lead to water logging and creating challenging growing conditions.
Sow peppers and chillies. These need a long growing season so sow now in a heated propagator or on a sunny windowsill.
Prune citrus plants. Thin out overcrowded branches and if growth has become straggly cut back by up to two thirds.
Gardening jobs for December
Propagate fruit bushes – Take hardwood cuttings of currants, gooseberries, figs and mulberries.Put them somewhere they can stay for a year undisturbed.
Make use of leaves – Allow leaves to stay on borders to act as a mulch to protect the soil from weathering.
Net brassicas to stop pigeons destroying your crop. Use upturned flower pots to prevent the supports from piercing the netting.
Prune deciduous shrubs such as berberis, flowering currants, wiegelia,philadelphus and deutzia. Thin them out by removing a few branches at ground level.
Get some festive colour in the garden using evergreen plants with variegated foliage or berries, such as aucuba, euonymus, skimmia or holly.
Plan your crops – go through your seed packets and catalogues, then start planning next year’s crops and flowers. NB old seeds have low viability so check the date on the packet and buy new if necessary.
Trim apples and pears – cut out dead , diseased and damaged wood. Opening up the branch structure will make it easier to pick next year’s crop.
Start forcing rhubarb, either in the greenhouse or outdoors. Use a terracotta forcing pot or upturned dustbin.
Boost your veg flavour – leave your parsnips in the ground until needed, or lift and then bury them in a shalow trench until needed. They taste sweeter after a frost.
Grow your own pollution barrier. Plant a hedge of pollution filtering evergreens such as Cotoneaster franchetti, yew or Thuga plicata if you live on a busy road.
Help bees, prune vines and sow winter crops
- Remove any pot saucers for outside containers and replace with feet or bricks to elevate them off the ground and to stop the pots becoming waterlogged.
- Climate change means that some bee species are increasing active during the winter, Help them out by growing winter flowering plants such as Heathers, Hellebores and Mahonia, Crocus are also great sources of nectar.
- Replace broken stakes and loosen ties on trees and climbers to prevent damaging the bark as the plant grows.
- Protect tender perennials from frost by putting straw or bark chippings under them, such as Penstemon and Salvias.
- Plenty of vegetables are ready to harvest now, such as leeks, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, kale etc.
- Help prevent the development of mould and brassica downy mildew by removing yellowing leaves. Clear up debris lying around plants too.
- Use grease bands and tree barrier glues to prevent winter moths climbing fruit trees to lay their eggs. Only use products that are sold specifically for this purpose to prevent entangling larger animals.
- Rake up fallen leaves for the compost heap or to store in punctured bin bags with some moisture to create leaf mould.
- Plant out spring bedding such as forget me nots and wallflowers.
- If you dried your borlotti beans make a warming minestrone to remind you of summer days.
- If you have a dead tree, consider leaving it standing as long as it poses no risk from falling to provide an excellent wildlife habitat.
- Grapevines shuld be pruned at the end of this month, or in December, removing the side shoots back to two buds.
- Remove any large figs on your tree, leaving smaller pea sized ones for ropping next year.
- Plant out your own well rooted strawberry runners during mild periods.
- Always check the bonfire before lighting to check that nothing has crawled in there for helter.
- Hardneck, softneck and elephant garlic can all be planted now.
– Take root cuttings
– Cut back perennials
– Prune late summer clematis
– Clean your tools
_ Prune autumn raspberries
– Sow peppers and chillies
– Mulch perennial veg
– Prune deciduous hedges
– Tidy citrus plants
– Trim winter heathers
– Plant bare root trees, shrubs and fruit if you can still get them, but do not plant when the ground is waterlogged or frozen.
– Herbaceous perennials need a mulch of at least 15cm to protect them against frost, top it up if any has been washed away.
– Prune apple and pear trees, remove dead diseased or damaged branches, then shorten the the previous year’s growth by a third. cut away shoots in the centre to create an open shape
Avoid compacting your soil by standing on a plank if you are pruning or weeding.
– Deadhead pot displays to keep them flowering for longer.