It’s December already, and we can’t believe how fast the year has gone! Throughout the year you have seen your garden transform from being covered in frost, to the colours of spring, the blooms of summer and the fabulous autumnal leaves.

The days are shorter, the weather is really taking a wintery turn and chances are, you don’t want to be out in your garden in December too much. We definitely can’t blame you! And, the good news is, there isn’t a huge amount to do in your garden in December. You’ll need to take care of, and protect, anything that is growing at the moment and think about the frosts that may be coming regularly now.

As always, we are here to help with some gardening top tips and advice, so, read on to find out the key things to do in your garden in December

Pine Cone

Top tips for what to do in your garden in December

Cover your compost heap with old carpet, or black plastic sheeting, to keep the temperature up. This will make sure decomposition can continue even when it is very cold. Keep turning it is possible and watch out for any animal life that may become trapped by your insulating layer.

– Whilst talking about compost, store at least one bag of sowing compost, one potting-on compost and one multi-purpose now in warm dry conditions. When needed quickly it will not be frozen or waterlogged. Plants and seeds do not do well in sodden, cold compost.

– Keep feeding those hungry birds, they will be very grateful!

– There is still time to take root cuttings from dormant plants such as Celastrus ‘Bittersweet’ and Chaenomeles’ japonica. Was and remove a section of pencil-thickness root, cat at an angle at the base, straight cut at the top. Then plant them in damp cutting compost.

– Leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops will be ready to harvest. Use them to make some nice warming soups!

Leeks - Thompson & Morgan

– Continue to remove fallen leaves from your lawn and beds. And, avoid walking on your lawn as much as possible as not to damage the grass underneath.

Pot on any summer cuttings that have taken well, showing root growth through the base and healthy top growth. If you’re planting them into the ground, the good news is that the soil is still warm enough to encourage roots to take.

Move any containers with shrubs, or beddings plants into a more sheltered spot. Placing them all together helps protect the root systems from suffering frost damage.

– Other plants may need to be protected from the frost, so make sure you keep an eye on the weather so you know when cold spells are coming.

Gardening idea for this month…

Mistletoe

Our gardening idea for this month is to grow your own mistletoe – just think how special it will be having a kiss under the mistletoe next December! And, it is possible to sow mistletoe on garden trees. Much of the mistletoe we buy at Christmas has actually come from apple trees in France. You are more likely to have success if you sow your mistletoe the to the same kind of tree it was originally harvested from.

Here’s how to do it (it takes a while, but will be worth it in the end!)

1. After the Christmas festivities, don’t throw away your mistletoe – save some of the berries in a plastic bag in cold (but not freezing) conditions.

2. In March, or early spring, select stout branches at least 7.5cm thick near the top of a well established apple tree. Make a nick in the bark with a sharp knife, squish the hard seed out of the centre of the mistletoe berry and push it firmly into the nick.

3. Wind a strip of hessian around the branch once and tie it in place. Now wait to years to see it grow!