5 Jobs in the Garden- December
Winter is now officially here and the temperatures have finally started to drop after what has been a year of possibly record breaking temperatures. But don’t forget, there is still plenty of work to do in the garden! So pull on your hat and scarf, fish those wellies out of the back of the cupboard and get yourself out there. And remember… you will appreciate it next summer as the ice bobs about in your G&T instead of your watering can.
Here are 5 jobs to get you started:
1. Plant/Transplant deciduous trees and shrubs
The perfect time of year to move dormant deciduous trees and shrubs before they start to put all their efforts into producing new growth for the spring. Buying new plants is also much more cost effective as bare-root specimens are widely available at this time of year.
Make sure the soil is not waterlogged or frozen when planting, and remember to keep an eye out for frost after planting; Mulching the base of newly planted trees and shrubs will provide good protection for the vulnerable roots.
2. Protect vulnerable plants
Make sure all non-hardy plants are brought indoors for the winter if you have not already done so. You can protect any hardy plants in pots by moving them to a sheltered spot and wrapping the pots in fleece.
Mulch the base of newly planted trees and shrubs to protect the roots. Pack the branches of vulnerable deciduous shrubs and trees with straw or fleece to protect from the cold.
3. Take measures to prevent ponds freezing over
Frozen ponds can be fatal to fish as well as other wildlife. Prevent ponds freezing over using a pond heater or feature that breaks the surface and keeps the water moving. Alternatively place a ball or other small, floating object in the pond that can easily be removed after freezing to provide an air hole.
Remember: Do not crack the ice as this can harm fish. Instead melt the ice slowly by placing a pan, filled with warm water, on the surface while keeping hold of the handle.
4. Dig over heavy/clay soil to allow frosts to break it down
Heavy soil can be a nightmare for any gardener; It’s hard to dig and turns to mud at the slightest hint of grey skies. But- as is so often the case- nature can lend you helping hand. If a dry spell comes along, dig over heavy clay soils nice and deeply (about the depth of a spade head), leaving the chunks lying loosely in the bed. Then, as the frost hits and you gaze out of the window worrying about your precious plants, at least you will know that it’s doing you one favour in breaking down that heavy soil as it freezes and thaws.
Working in organic matter, like manure or compost, will also be of great benefit to the condition of the soil and can be done at the same time.
5. Check and mend plant supports and structures
Now that the leaves have fallen and you’re left with largely skeletal beds, it is the perfect time to have a good look around at any plant supports and ties in the garden to see if any of them are in need of your attention. A quick fix now will ensure that the new growth (and new weight) next year doesn’t lead to any toppling trees or shifting shrubs.
Of course, if you need a helping hand, we would be only too happy to help. Simply fill in the contact form and we will get in touch with you.
For comprehensive information on gardening visit the RHS advice pages here.