Calendar of Garden Work for December

DECEMBER is the month for stocktaking and replanning. New beds and paths can be made and carpentry and constructional work can be done. If the weather and conditions are suitable, digging and trenching can continue.


Protect any tender plants from hard frosts. Delicate wall shrubs or climbers can be covered with sacking.

Buds of Jasminium nudiflorum can be brought indoors as soon as they appear and put into water to help them to open before Christmas.

Give the lawn a final rake and spike it to give aeration. Add a dressing of worm-killing powder.

Cover tender rock garden plants with glass to protect them from damage by excessive wet. Woolly-leaved plants especially need protection.

Reconstruction of the rock garden can begin. The building of paths, steps and walls can be carried out now, but do not lay concrete during frost, or if frost is forecast.

Prepare window-boxes with fresh soil and plant wallflowers or winter-flowering pansies.

Improve soil by digging in humus-forming materials.


If the weather is favourable, prepare celery trenches for next spring.

If frost or snow threatens, lift enough parsnips to supply the kitchen during a spell of bad weather.

Continue with winter digging whenever the ground is free from frost.

Order seed potatoes.

Make sure that covering material for frames is available and dry ready for use when it is needed.


Look over apples and pears in store and discard any that are too soft or are showing signs of disease.

Grease band any trees that were not done last month. Renew any bands that have trapped many insects.

Start winter pruning of top fruit after leaf fall.

Protect undeveloped fruits on fig trees by covering them with straw or by hanging sacking over the branches.

Root-prune over-vigorous fruit trees, especially figs, which require a very restricted root system if they are to bear fruit at all.

Complete planting of fruit trees as soon as possible.

Spray top fruit with tar oil wash against insect eggs and hibernating grubs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions given on the container.


Cut back the stems of the chrysanthemums when they have finished flowering but continue to keep them moist. Syringe them occasionally to encourage the shoots to produce new growth to provide material for cuttings. Insert the cuttings as they become available about 3 in. apart in a propagating box. Keep the atmosphere in the box close and moist until roots have been formed.

Start to take cuttings of perpetual-flowering carnations as they are available and insert them round the edges of small pots in very sandy compost.

Cover cold frames with mats at night or during prolonged frost, or insulate them in the same way as a cold green-house with polythene sheeting.

Christmas-flowering plants in the greenhouse cannot be hardened off in the ordinary way and should be treated as tender plants. Cover them and protect them from cold air by carrying them into the house in a deep-sided box. Small stakes will prevent the stems from breaking if the plants have to be transported very far.

For an early crop of broad beans, sow long-pods in boxes of John Innes seed compost. Keep them in the greenhouse or a frame until the middle of March.

Bring in the roses planted in pots in October. Leave bone dry until all the leaves have dropped off and then prune drastically to only two buds from the base of each main stem.

07. September 2013 by admin
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