David Hurrion’s December Tips

David Hurrion’s December Tips

Award winning Garden writer David Hurrion’s top tips for December.

  • Harvest branches of berried holly (pictured) now using a pair of secateurs or a long handled lopper to collect them. Plunge the cut ends of the stems in a buck of water to keep them fresh and store them in frost free shed or garage for a few days until you are ready to use them for Christmas decorations.
  • Plant the last of your spring bulbs this month before they dry out too much or start to rot. Tulips (pictured) are the most likely to be successful if planted this month as they have firmer bulbs, but don't be disappointed if other types of bulbs fail to come up. You really should have got them in by the end of October!
  • Plant winter flowering shrubs and perennials that will bring you cheer during the short, dark days of December, January and February. Look for Mahonia japonica (pictured), Lonicera purpusii and Viburnum 'Dawn', all of which produce fragrant, colourful blooms.
  • Check trees and shrubs for signs of snapped or broken branches or twigs that are still attached to the plants, pruning them off before they tear the bark or do further damage by smashing into other plants as they fall.
  • Spend an evening with the seed catalogues or online to order all the veg and flower seeds that you want to grow in the coming year. And without dampening your enthusiasm, bear in mind the amount of space you have to raise the seeds and don't overdo your order. Seeds also make a great Christmas present for green fingered and beginner gardeners alike.
  • Pick off faded flowers from winter pansies and other winter bedding plants to keep them looking neat and to encourage the development of more flower buds that will open during mild winter weather.
  • Move houseplants away from the cold radiating glass of windows. Position them in a well lit place instead, but keep them away from the drying effects of radiators, heaters or open fires.
  • Clean bird baths and feeders with a scrubbing brush and plenty of clean water to prevent the build up and transfer of diseases. Don't use detergent when washing. Make sure bird baths and feeders are kept topped as the birds will come to rely on them in cold weather.
  • Avoid walking on lawns or areas of short grass during frosty or snowy weather to prevent dieback where your footprints fall.

For inspiring garden ideas and tips of more jobs to do in your garden this month, see the December issue of BBC Gardeners' World Magazine.