Garden jobs for December 2021

Here are this month’s jobs from Sherborne gardener Pete Harcom – perfect for a mild crisp December winter’s day.

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  • Winter digging can continue This is weather permitting – only when soil is not too wet or frozen. To feed the soil and improve the structure, use garden compost, well rotted manure and leaf mould.
  • Heathers are now in bloom There are good selections available in the garden centres
  • One idea for colour in the home at Christmas In early December cut shoots from your winter flowering shrubs – in the warmth of the home or greenhouse they will open up and flower in time for Christmas.
  • In the greenhouse Ensure all is clean and clear of rubbish and waste – this will reduce the number of any overwintering pests. But do leave spiders alone; they’re useful predators, let them have the corners.
  • Sow seeds of Alpine plants These can be very easy to grow in a cool greenhouse. Some alpine seeds need exposure to low temperatures before germination, and an average UK winter should provide the right environment.
  • Cut rust-affected hollyhocks Take them right down to the ground, and dispose of the stems, don’t add them to your compst.
  • Fungal spores and many pest-pupae over- winter in the soil at the base of plants, ready for action once spring arrives and growth begins again. Remove (and compost) old mulches in all areas of the garden, and lightly dig around the base of plants to expose pests to predators (birds love grubs!) and winter weather.
  • Avoid disturbing large piles of leaves now. Leaf piles are amazing for wildlife, providing shelter and a great nesting spot for hibernating animals, such as hedgehogs, small mammals, frogs and countless insects. Birds will also peck through leaf piles looking for worms and grubs.
  • Hang fat-balls and bird feeders Hang them all around the garden; birds who are coming in to feed will also enjoy feasting on your troublesome overwintering aphids and other pests.
  • Scrub pots and seed trays Do this before stacking away, to get rid of any lingering pests and diseases.
  • Last chance to protect plants with fleece It’s a simple way to help those in exposed spots in the garden
  • Now is a good time to clean up those gardening tools! Bring them into the shed – clean, sharpen, and oil them, and then you are ready for Spring!

    Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Pete

by Pete Harcom – Head Gardener at Sherton Abbas Gardening

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre

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