What to do in the Garden in December

Greetings fellow Gardeners,

Because of some building work, being carried  out in the garden, I am unable to host a Christmas Workshop this year, which I really will miss as it is our way of a small Christmas celebration.

Also I would really would like to thank my Garden visitors, my Garden Volunteers, and my amazing inspiring Students. All of you are the reason why I do what I do. Appreciating our tenderer and gentle environment, really appreciating what is happening beneath our feet, what it gives us, is so fantastic, thank you.

Have a very Happy and Holy Christmas, see you next Year .

Annmarie 

What to do in December

  1. Harvest your Brussells sprouts for your Chridtmas Dinner.
  2. Make a wreathe using Willow or Cornus alba as a base. Cover it with moss or lots of ivy, old mans beard – Clematis vitalba. String cranberries, dried roses using fine wire, bright ribbons, dried fruit, pine cones sprayed white or gold or silver.Poppy seed heads, tiny Poinsettia, twigs covered in lichens
  3. Clear out your shed, clean your tools. Buy an Osslating hoe – I have some in stock, great gift.
  4. Choose 3 annual flowers you love, order the seeds.
  5. List the veg you eat, order their seeds.
  6. Check your tree ties.
  7. Tender plants check they are protected.
  8. Water available for visitng creatures.
  9. Plant all those bulbs you have now, make sure you include tulips.
  10. Collect and compost your leaves, you will be glad to have them  later in the year.

What you might do in the Garden in May

Some things to do in the garden in May. 

  1. Keep Weeding, use your osslating hoe often.
  2. Start watering indoor plants liberally until autumn, include liquid fertiliser.
  3. Refresh compost,remove dead or damaged growth.If your plant has outgrown your favourite pot, rather than buying a new larger pot, root prune and top prune, fresh compost and off it goes again.
  4. Start hardening off  all your now potted up seedlings.
  5. Keep mulching soil before the plants grow too much and you can still get in between them and see what you’re doing.
  6. Allow your spring bulbs to die back naturally, dead head,including you’re tulips as they fade.
  7. Prune shrubs that have flowered such as Japanese quince, choisya and ribes.
  8. It’s a good idea to get ahead of the game by putting in supports for oriental poppies, peonies and delphiniums. Once plants have got going it’s really difficult to try to prop them up and they may already be damaged. Look at putting in canes or pea sticks next to sweet peas, climbing roses, runner beans and peas, and tie the plants in to them as necessary.
  9. Divide large clumps of grasses such as Calamagrostis, Stepa gigainata and Molina Transparent, they prefer a warmer soil to settle into.
  10. Remove suckers from fruit trees and lilacs, also stray raspberry canes.
  11. Sow runner beans, don’t forget the supports.
  12. Keep harvesting you rhubarb – freezes really well.
  13. Start thinking of plants to put into your summer containers, include some wild flower seeds.
  14. Sow basil, tarragon, coriander  in pots, carrots in the ground ( don’t forget about carrot root fly and how to protectthe carrots.)

What to do in April

  1. Keep weeds under control – use your oscillating hoe (have some in stock) and also get down on your hands and knees.
  2. Protect fruit blossom from late frosts.
  3. Tie-in climbing and rambling roses.
  4. Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seed – Sunflowers, Cosmos, Ammi Majus, Calendula, Cleome, Marigolds, Basil, Coriander, Dill and Chervil.
  5. Start to feed citrus plants – oranges and lemons. I have them in pots which I protect during the winter.
  6. Increase the water given to houseplants – tidy them up, check if they could do with a compost freshen up and take cuttings.
  7. Feed hungry shrubs and roses. Chicken manure pellets are a great slow release general fertiliser.
  8. Sow new lawns or repair bare patches. Only time to water grass is when it has been seeded.
  9. Plant summer bulbs, corms and tubers –  Dahlias, Begonias, Gladioli, Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia) ,Lilies to name a few.
  10. Vegetable seeds –  here are a few – corn,broccoli ,beetroot, kale, peppers (Capsicums), Perpetual spinach,  tomatoes again wonderful opportunity to sow perennial seeds to flower in your garden for many years.

Gardening in December

Now for some task you could do:

  1. Take an inventory of tools and equipment that you need for next year. Add them to your Christmas list! How about an Osslating hoe,to save your back when weeding? Have some in stock.
  2. Finish off cutting back herbaceous plants and apply a mulch of compost / manure sealing in what ever heat is left, and protecting the soil from weathering.
  3. Bulbs are beginning to emerge now a good reason to finish off any clearing and weeding.Plant tulip bulbs, provided the ground isn’t frozen and waterlogged.
  4. Plant bare-rooted hedges, trees, shrubs and also native hedges  especially hawthorn-Crataegus monogyna  to encourage wildlife and create attractive boundaries around your garden.Blending it with species such as field maple, hazel, spindle, buckthorn, wild rose and viburnum make for tough and variated hedging. Planting two-foot high saplings a 30 cm apart will provide a fine hedge within four years. Since many are woodland species, they thrive in creating a thick wall of foliage as they vie for light.A wildlife fruiting hedge with crab apple, wild pear and guelder rose. A flowering hedge, with berberis, forsythia, fuchsia, ribes, hydrangea and philadelphus.
  5. Good time if you need to move young deciduous and evergreen shrubs as long as they’re not too large and the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.  Pre-dig the new planting hole before digging up plants to make the transplanting process as quick as possible and protect the roots from drying out.
  6. If you leave your dahlias in the ground , cover with an extra layer of mulch. If you don’t have any compost or mulch cover with a layer of leaves. Peonies don’t like their crowns covered as it prevents flowering.Baby slugs love to eat emerging shoots, so pull back the mulch in early spring.
  7. Take hardwood cuttings of dormant shrubs and fruit bushes.
  8. Sow antirrhinums (Snapdragons)in a cool greenhouse now for early flowering in the summer.These make great cut flowers.
  9. Protect your poinsettias from cold draughts and allow them to dry out slightly between waterings to make them last for the whole Christmas period and well into January. My last years plant is still thriving.
  10. Bird feeders give them a good cleaning and try and make them squirrel proof. Don’t forget to have water available for all visiting creatures.
Mad as a March Hare

What to do in March

LAWN

  • Sow lawn seed when the ground is dry and rain is expected.
  • Lawns need feeding in most cases at this time, especially those that grew poorly last year and have a lot of moss. Use a fork or bio fork to help aerate  a compacted lawn.
  • Mow when conditions are correct, ie ground not too wet, not too low a cut yet.

FLOWERS

  • Planting of new perennial flowers and lifting and dividing of established plants can be carried out if necessary, but do not delay, and make sure the plants are watered until they re-establish fully.
  • Spring bulbs can be lifted green in full leaf, just after flowering and moved to other areas.
  • Gladiolus corms can be planted directly outdoors from the middle of the month.
  • Lily bulbs can also be planted out or potted up for summer flowers.
  • Hardy annual flowers such as calendula and candytuft can be sown now and will flower in late summer.
  • Start off begonias and dahlias in pots of compost.
  • Re-pot house plants that are pot-bound and falling over.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Onion sets and shallots can be put in now too.
  • Potatoes should be ready and if conditions are right plant.
  • If new fruit trees and bushes plant now to benefit of the best growing part of the year, also coming to the end of Bare Root season.
  • Apply some potash to fruit trees or a fruit fertiliser to improve growth and yield but not rich compost or manure when tends to promote soft growth and diseases. Fertiliser potassium is sometimes called “potash” .Potash ores are typically rich in potassium chloride , necessary for flower formation leading to fruit.
  • Pruning of apple and pear trees and blackcurrant bushes should be completed in early March because the buds will be already opening.
  • Weed around established herb plants to ensure they are weed-free as new growth begins.Weed your paths, etc and you will be glad later on.

Some summer flowering bulbs to consider

Some Spring Planting Bulbs (Summer Flowering)

Crinum flowers.

  1. Begonia Tubers   in a container protected from frosts
  2. Dahlia Tubers   in a container protected from frosts
  3. Crocosmia Corms   choose something like Lucifer as the orange one I love is very invasive and a bit of a nuisance at times.
  4. Lily Bulbs -plant only if the soil is not too wet, lilies look great in pots.
  5. Zantedeschia  (Calla Lilies ) again think of pots
  6. Crinum
  7. Eucomus
  8. Gladiolus Corms   (Symbolising strength and moral integrity, gladioli also represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion. Striking and colourful with towering stems, this August birth flower and 40th wedding anniversary flower evoke the drama of Roman gladiators)
  9. Canna
  10. Liatris spicata 

What to Do Now in the Garden October

Top 10 things to do in
your garden now

1 Photograph your garden- it is amazing how we forget.

2 Visit garden centres to see what plants/shrubs  are flowering now to fill in gaps

3 Divide large clumps of perennials – we get more plants, free up space and allow for better growth next year.

4 Take hardwood cuttings – this is when this year’s growth has become harder – firmer in other words not soft.

Take care to choose a healthy parent plant free from pests or disease and use a sharp, sterilised secateurs or knife. Careful labelling is key and should include the date the cuttings were taken, along with the name of the parent plant, use a compost 50 / 50 sand in a pot. Plant around the edges of the pot. Also, there can be a low rate of success so take lots. Unlike soft and semi-ripe cuttings, hardwood cuttings do not require bottom heat or a moist atmosphere. If you have space you can also simply dig a slit trench half the height of the cuttings and fill the bottom with sharp sand or grit.

Insert the cuttings vertically, to a third to half of their length and back-fill the soil, firming them in. You can use a hormone rooting powder, but this is generally felt to be unnecessary. Water well and label the cuttings so you know what they are. A cold frame can be placed over the top to encourage faster rooting if required.

Hardwood cuttings are very slow to form roots, so don’t expect them to root fully until at least the next spring. If rooted well the cuttings will sprout strong shoots and grow away.

Ideal shrubs for hardwood cuttings are Buddleia, weigela, privet (Ligustrum), Philadelphus, forsythia and willow, but you can experiment with any woody shrub that takes your fancy. Taking cuttings is free, and if they don’t succeed, no harm will have been done. Others plants eminently suited to being propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings include many shrubby evergreens such as rosemary, sage, lavender, box, escallonia, holly, viburnum, hebe, camellia, ceanothus, cistus and choisya. Good luck.

5 Plant bulbs for spring – wait till November to plant tulips. Think also of indoor bulbs for Christmas such as Hyacinths, plant NOW for Christmas. Narcissi Paper White take 6 weeks from planting to flowering and have an amazing scent to fill your home at Christmas when they are finished flowering plant them out into your garden the same with your Hyacinths.

6 Plan your flower borders for next summer — look at midsummer magazines etc for ideas also include spring as it will help you choose bulbs. Come to Patricia’s Workshop on Saturday, November 3.

7 Get your leaf pile organised — you can’t buy leaf mould.

8 Trim lawn edges, scarify and repair lawn, use a low nitrogen law feed.

9 Cut your hedges before frosts – pruning at this time of year is for shape.

10 Veg garden plant garlic, onions, broad beans and green manures.

It is very nice to have a neat tidy garden with good structure but don’t forget to leave some areas for all the little creatures to hibernate in – so don’t be too tidy. Leaf and wood piles make great places for hibernation and shelter. I take down my hanging baskets and replace with bird feeders. Birds are essential for our gardens and they do need a helping hand. Containers with water can act as little ponds for frogs and of course sources of drinking water for our little visitors.

There are lots of other jobs to do as well, but try and get as much done now before it gets too cold to venture out.

Sunday, September 30.Gardening Workshop covering the basics.

The garden is now going to sleep, and now is also the time to plan your beautiful garden for next year.
Seed sowing at this time of year can give you a head start on Spring, roots develop and are stronger. Division of plants- making more, moving plants to better positions, planting bulbs for spring and summer. Feeding your soil, protecting it for the weather ahead- drought, are a few of what we will be covering.

Arranging Garden Flowers for Winter Interest

Sunday, October 7 10- 1 pm

Sally Horn florist extraordinaire.

Sally will show us how to use Seed heads, fresh flowers, greenery to make pleasing Winter displays. How to condition your flowers and greenery to get the longest life from them.

If you have a container you would like to use bring it, and we will also have some for you to use also.

All materials will be provided.