With so much rain in November, most of our gardens are very wet underfoot so working in them has been a challenge on most days! Early December is meant to be drier and more settled so are likely to have our first serious frosts to welcome the start of Advent, which will certainly help conjure up more festive spirits leading up to Christmas.
Although there isn’t the urgency to do things in the garden, we can continue with some tidying up, protecting any tender plants and ponds and helping the wildlife in our gardens.
Plants need less water at this time of year, however, 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.
Move houseplants away from warm radiators and into a sunny, cool place where they will be happier in the Winter months.
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 cancels the insulating effect of the frozen surface.
Keep your bird feeders topped up with a variety of seeds, nuts and suet products to give our garden birds a boost through the cold Winter days and ensure that water is available.
Relaxing and planning for next year
Even with the run-up to Christmas and New year, hopefully you can find some quieter times where you can perhaps read some of the gardening magazines you never found time to read earlier in the year and look at those seed catalogues and planting ideas for next year.