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10 things you should do in the garden during December

Winter jasmine. PHOTO: Getty Images
Winter jasmine. PHOTO: Getty Images

10 things to do in the garden during December

Winter harvest

Many veg growers will be lucky enough to be harvesting sprouts, parsnips, broccoli and kale for Christmas day. If you can refrain from harvesting your veg until the last minute, it’ll taste even better on the big day.

Scentsational plants

Choose carefully and your garden will be filled with beautiful scents throughout December. Winter jasmine, Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'and Saracococca are all highly scented varieties. Plant near your front door and you’ll be greeted with sweet smells every time you come home.

Get in shape

Cut back autumn fruiting raspberries, apple and pear trees and roses. It’s a good time to open up canopies to let some more air and light in for better growth next year.

Green clean

December is a great time to have a tidy up. Clean the greenhouse, your shed and tools, sharpen your tools and secateurs, and give your lawnmower a service. You’ll be glad you did it come spring.

Winter wildlife

Keep an eye on bird feeders. They’ll need topping up more than ever. Birds need calorie-rich suet, sunflower hearts and peanuts to maintain fat reserves on frosty nights. Refresh bird baths regularly in case they freeze over.

Wrap up warm

I’m all about learning lessons from last year – remember cordylines, especially the coloured ones, and how many we lost? Let’s keep an eye on the weather forecast and if there’s a chance of frost, cover tender plants with fleece and tie up. Don’t forget to remove the fleece when the risk of frost has passed so you don’t suffocate them.

Safe paths

Most of the leaves have fallen now but keep tidying up any debris on paths. They can get a bit mossy at this time of the year so if you get the chance give them a power wash as they can be quite slippy.

White Christmas

If it does snow, remember to shake snow off trees and shrubs as the weight can damage branches and stems. Don’t worry about snow on low plants as it actually protects them against hard frosts, acting as a blanket.

Great British Life: Harvest holly for wreaths and decorations. PHOTO: Getty ImagesHarvest holly for wreaths and decorations. PHOTO: Getty Images

Holly days 

Harvest holly with berries for making Christmas garlands and wreaths. Stand the berry-covered twigs in a bucket of water until you're ready to use them. You can add anything to make it a one of a kind creation. Conifers, ivy, Cornus stems, rosehips and ferns all make lovely additions.

Armchair gardening

December is a quiet month for gardeners but it can still be a productive one. Put your feet up over the festive period and browse a few catalogues or look online for inspiration, and start planning next year’s garden.

Great British Life: Care for your tree and it will last longer. PHOTO: Getty ImagesCare for your tree and it will last longer. PHOTO: Getty Images

Christmas tree tips 

* Nordmann firs are a traditional needle holding tree that are quite bushy so they’re great for big spaces and will hold a lot of decorations.

* Fraser Fir is a more compact, narrow tree that’s nicely scented with rigid upward branches that hold decorations well.

* Norway Spruce has a lovely festive scent but the needles do drop so don’t be alarmed if they do.

* If you buy your tree early, leave it outside in a bucket of water and only bring it inside when you’re ready to decorate. Take an inch off the bottom of the tree with a saw before you bring it in, a bit like you do with freshly cut flowers.

* Don’t position your tree next to a fire or radiator as the needles will drop quicker.

* Use a stand that holds water and top it up every day.



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