Some may think that as the months get cooler there really isn’t much that can be done in the garden. The ground becomes frozen and unworkable, so nothing can be sown, and without Arctic clothing you really don’t want to spend too much time in the garden. You’d be surprised as to how much you can actually do in the winter months, even from the comfort of your chair. So here is my round up;
What to plant in December
Firstly, if you have a cool greenhouse, I am envious! It is actually quite difficult to over winter and get started on spring sowings when you don’t have a greenhouse, so make the most of it. Start sowing Antirrhinums (also known as snapdragons) and Laurentia now for early flowering in the summer. They will look stunning in borders and containers. You can also sow winter hardy salad leaves such as lettuce ‘Winter Gem’ under cover. If you are growing in the greenhouse keep your eyes peeled for aphids over-wintering on your plants, if you spot any simply remove them by hand.
December is also the ideal time to plant your bare root fruit trees. Raspberry canes and Blackberries can be planted any time between now and the spring, but for a delicious strawberry crop in summer, strawberry plants need to be planted now
For an early harvest next spring, direct sow Broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’, as long as the ground is not frozen. This RHS Award of Garden Merit, customer favourite variety is the best broad bean for autumn sowing and overwintering on the plot outside.
For winter interest plant winter flowering shrubs such as Sarcoccoca confusa to add both colour and fragrance to your garden at this time of year.
December garden maintenance
There is always something to do throughout the year to keep your garden in great shape. From pruning to tidying, every little helps to keep your displays look wonderful all year round. Start pruning wisteria, climbing roses and Acers if needed, and remove and diseased or damaged growth to encourage new shoots. Don’t be tempted to prune your hydrangeas just yet as they will provide frost protection for new buds further down, prune in spring.
Perfect for staying warm, there are plenty of tasks to do from the comfort of your chair such as preparing your vegetable garden for next year. This will ensure a good crop rotation and avoid any gluts. Begin thinking about this year’s garden and what worked well for you. You can start preparing an order list for next year, and these might also provide Christmas gift ideas.
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.