As this extraordinary year draws to its close and the days are at their shortest, slow down a bit. Try to limit your gardening work to some tidying up, protecting any tender plants and ponds and helping the wildlife in your garden.


Keep your bird feeders topped up with a variety of seeds, nuts and suet products and make water available.


Although it makes sense to water plants sparingly at this time of year, do make sure that container plants and pots in the greenhouse don’t dry out completely.

Protecting plants

Protect tender palms and tree ferns. Pack a few handfuls of straw into the crown, tie up the leaves or fronds, and then wrap the whole plant in horticultural fleece or hessian tying it off securely at the bottom. Don’t be tempted to use plastic sheeting or bubble wrap because on warm days, your plants will sweat and rot.

Indoors, keep your houseplants happy by moving them away from warm radiators and into a sunny, cool place where they will fare much better.

Protecting ponds

If very severe frosts are forecast, float a football on the water in concrete lined ponds. When the water freezes, the ball will absorb the ice pressure rather than cracking the concrete sides. Fish may suffocate if ice persists for long, so melt a hole by standing a metal pan on the surface filled with boiling water.

Do not break up thick ice as this could injure the fish or if the broken ice falls into the water, this will lower the water temperature further and negate the insulating effect of the frozen surface.

Relaxing and planning for 2021

If you can find some quiet time, sit somewhere warm and comfortable and read some of the gardening magazines and books you never found time to read earlier in the year and conjure up some wonderful plans for your garden in 2021!

Let’s all look forward to the best Christmas we can create this year and to those short Winter days getting longer from Monday 21st December.

Merry Christmas!

These tips were kindly contributed by local resident Cara MacColl