December in the garden can be a quiet month, not to mention wet and cold. But on brighter days it's worth stepping out and turning your attention to repairing, fixing systems and clearing.
Cut flowers + Nectar flowers
- Sort through leftover and half-empty seed packets, discarding expired or damaged ones.
- Bring indoors any forced bulbs for wintering and flowering indoors.
- Plant tulips if the ground is not frozen yet.
- Check stored summer flowering bulbs and tubers for mold, removing affected ones.
- Harvest the last of your seed heads and berries. Consider making a wintery wreath, using items such as hydrangea heads.
- Prune back climbing roses and tie them into supports for new shoots.
- Trim back Wisteria for improved flowering and air circulation.
- Tidy up wildflower patches, leaving the dried flowers in place to provide shelter for wildlife.
- Consider installing a watering system if you struggle with watering tasks.
- Apply dry mulch or fleece to protect borderline-hardy plants.
At this time, start planning your garden for next year. If you are planting in beds, it is good to move crops around. If you plant in the same place, you are more likely to have a build-up of pests. Gardeners group veggies into the below categories, roots, brassicas, legumes (peas, beans) and everything else (potatoes, onions, tomatoes). Rotate in these groups to keep your plants good and healthy.
- Earth up winter brassicas for better anchorage.
- Remove yellowing leaves from Brussels sprouts regularly.
- Continue winter digging and cover prepared beds with fleece or clear plastic.
- Prepare a perennial vegetable bed for rhubarb and asparagus.
- Sow parsley, chives, and basil indoors for windowsill picking.
- Pick and arrange seed heads, berries, and hips for wreaths.
- Enjoy indoor bulbs starting to flower.
- Harvest chrysanthemums and alstroemerias from undercover.
- Collect leaves for leaf mould.
- Clean paths, and repair sheds, fences, and trellises.
- Repair lawns if weather conditions allow.
- Carry out winter digging and protect vulnerable plants.
- Monitor container plants and bulbs for drying out after freezing.
- Raise potted plants off the ground to prevent water-logging.
- Aerate the lawn before winter sets in.
- Wash, dry, and store used pots and containers.
- Review notes before ordering seeds.
- Check greenhouse heaters and remove leaves from gutters.
- Wash greenhouses, cold frames, and cloches for better light penetration.
- Water overwintering plants sparingly, avoiding wetting the leaves.
- Feed birds in colder weather and protect holly bunches with nets for Christmas decorations.
- Clean bird baths and feeders regularly.
- Clear leaves to prevent shelter for slugs and snails.
- Monitor for pest infestations of greenfly, whitefly, and red spider mite.