While it’s generally a more quiet month, there are still some important things to do in the garden in December to keep everything ticking over nicely in preparation for spring.
With the holiday season approaching, your garden tasks shift towards maintenance and wildlife care. As the year winds down, seize the opportunity to plan your beds, borders, and fruit and veg plots for the coming months, and don’t forget to pick out your perfect Christmas tree!
In this article, we’ll explore the essential gardening jobs for December for UK gardeners to keep your outdoor space thriving through the winter.
General Garden Maintenance
It’s unlikely we’ll get through December without the weather being unkind, so ensure your fences and wooden structures are secure and your paths and driveway are free of leaves, ice and snow where possible.
If you’ve got an outside tap, it’s a good idea to insulate it to stop leaks and make sure your greenhouse heaters are in full working order. Bring your hoses and sprinklers indoors and check your stakes and tree ties are sturdy enough to stand up to winter storms.
One of the most critical December garden tasks is to take care of your wildlife. In addition to the usual collection of garden birds, you may find a host of migratory birds in your garden, so consider putting out some high-fat, high-energy food alongside plenty of water to drink.
Where your lawn is concerned, raking off the wet and rotting leaves is one of the gardening jobs to do in December that keeps everything neat and tidy. And if you do manage to find a dry day, get rid of the worm casts with a stiff brush or a leaf blower.
Plants, Trees & Flowers
If your soil isn’t waterlogged or covered with frost, one of the things to do in the garden in December is to dig it over as this aerates the soil. You can also add a layer of manure or well-rotted compost which will get broken down through the coming weeks and months.
One of the jobs for the garden in December is to sow hardy plants such as lilies, clematis and Japanese maples and climbing honeysuckle, as well as fragrant winter shrubs, bare-root plants like roses, hedges and fruit, and ornamental trees.
You can also prune and shape your wisteria and your climbing roses, removing any diseased or dead leaves or branches. For a colourful Christmas, you can buy potted bulbs of hyacinths and paper-white narcissus unless you grew some in the autumn!
In the Fruit & Veg Garden
Harvest the last of your leeks, brussel sprouts, Christmas potatoes and parsnips before the soil freezes and remove any yellowing leaves from your brassicas, as they may be home to unwanted pests. Then it’s all about protection and planning.
Keep your brassicas, cabbage and kale covered with netting and protect your salad leaves and celery plants with fleece.
If you’ve got fruit trees and blackcurrant plants, one of the gardening jobs for December is to prune them to control their size and shape. You can also take cuttings from your gooseberry varieties to root over the winter.
You can sow certain types of broad beans and onions in December and prepare the empty areas in your vegetable beds ready for spring.