December

In the garden:

Check climbers are securely attached to their support structures. Use new ties if needed.

You can start winter pruning Wisteria, cutting back the last season’s new growth to the first two or three buds.
Japanese Maples and vines should be pruned no later than now.

Don’t dead head hydrangeas. The dead flower heads are a good protection against frost for new buds.

If your roses have suffered from infections like blackspot and rust, keep gathering up fallen leaves from around the plants. It may help keep infection down in the following season.

You can take hardwood cuttings now. There are different techniques for different but good general guidelines are: pick shoots that have grown well in the previous season; cut off the growing tip; cut into sections that end just above a bud; make diagonal cuts at the top of the cutting and straight ones at the bottom. You can plant the cuttings in a trench in the garden or in containers. They should be planted with two-thirds of the stem below the ground.

Fruit and vegetables:

Before the ground becomes frozen lift the last of your parsnips and leeks. Both can be stored outside in a trench.

If you haven’t already done it, trim any yellowing leaves from asparagus plants.

Cover winter brassicas with netting to keep hungry pigeons at bay.

Tall brassicas may need support from winter winds. Check canes are strongly in the ground and pile up some earth around the roots if your plants look a little precarious.

If you’re getting frustrated by the lack of growing opportunities, then you could try your hand at mushroom growing with a kit or impregnated logs.

If your soil is heavy clay, covering it will make starting the garden again in the spring a little easier.

Some winter-growing plants will need frost protection. Use fleece on the likes of winter salads and celery.

Some fruit trees can be pruned now. Leave stone fruits, like cherries, alone, but cut other trees to give an open structure that will support good cropping next year.

Blueberry bushes can be planted. Remember they are an acid-lover.

Other jobs:

Give your garden tools a clean ready for next year.

Keep an eye on your greenhouse and make sure your heaters are working correctly.

If you have a pond, its water is as vital as food for garden wildlife, so keep the ice at bay if you can. A bobbing ball is a quick, easy and cheap way to stop the surface freezing.

Containers should be protected against frost. Gathering them in groups helps protect the roots of the plants inside.

Any stored vegetables – and bulbs and tubers – will be sorely tempting mice and other hungry critters in the harsh winter weather. Keep an eye on them, make sure containers or bags are secure, and use deterrent measures if necessary.
Do your garden Christmas gift shopping, and don’t leave it too late! If you can’t make your mind up, we have vouchers.