December To Do List gardens in Surrey
There’s something so satisfying about getting out into the winter garden this month and tackling those rewarding jobs that mean your outdoors space can take a mid winter rest before we get going again next year.
In the UK, we face frost, wind, rain and perhaps for some regions snowfall and so the more you can do now to put your garden to bed, the easier it will be to pick up again in Spring.
If you have a greenhouse or glasshouse and have taken your pots and more tender plants in then do check the heater is working and if you don’t have one, see our new post on the delights of a glasshouse in the garden here (LINK)
You’ll also need to freeze-proof ponds and standpipes, tidy up your sheds and clean container pots and planting trays.
Use a dry mulch such as chipped bark around border perennials to help them survive the worst of the weather and protect more tender and precious plants such as agapathus which need a bit extra to get them through the rest of this season.
If you’ve planted winter flowering pansies then check for leaf moulds and pick out those leaves that are affected and if you fancy a couple of hours harder graft before heading indoors to a cosy log fire, make sure you prune acers, birches and both edible and ornamental vines to stop the sap from seeping once you make a cut.
Remove any mummified fruits from orchard fruit trees and try to take a short length of the spur to which they are attached as you remove them. If you’re planning to plant trees, you can still plant deciduous trees and hardy shrubs this month.
In the vegetable garden now is the time to harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbages, kale and any other remaining root crops and of course this is the season of the ubiquitous Christmas sprout. Whatever you think of them, if you’ve been growing sprouts stake those you plan to harvest later and find a Christmas lunch recipe that will show you how to really celebrate this little cruciferous gem which is full of nutritional goodness when you bring it, triumphantly home grown, to the festive table.
This is also a time to be sowing for next year and whilst it may seem at odds to be doing this in December, you can plant blueberries now to give your fruit garden pretty white flowers in the spring, delicious tart berries in summer and a fiery autumn foliage at the end of the fruiting season. Blueberries like more acidic soil so treat yours before planting if you need to.
Hopefully, seeing just what you will have to look forward to by doing a little planting now really will show how the hard work you put in now taking care of an over-wintering garden space and its plantings will pay dividends come spring when you can start fresh with a new burst of energy – just like the garden itself.
And when you’ve taken care of all this, leave your wellies by the door and pour yourself a welcome and well-deserved glass of your favourite Christmas cheer.