After such a stormy end to November and with the shorter Winter days, we are now spending less time out in our gardens. However, there are still things to be done as the weather permits and the year draws to a close. We can continue with some tidying up, protecting any tender plants and ponds and helping the wildlife in our gardens.
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, check regularly to ensure that any container plants and pots in the greenhouse don’t dry out completely.
Protect tender palms and tree ferns. Pack a few handfuls of straw into the crown, tie up the leaves or fronds and wrap the whole plant in horticultural fleece or hessian tying it off securely at the bottom. Try not to use bubble wrap for this purpose as on warm days, your plants will sweat and rot.
Indoors, move houseplants away from warm radiators and into a sunny, cool place where they will be happier.
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.
Try not to break up the ice as when the broken ice falls into the water, this lowers the water temperature further and cancel the insulating effect of the frozen surface.
Relaxing and planning for next year
If you can, take some time to 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 and planting schemes for next year.