Any sunshine this month will be weak
But if you feel like venturing into the garden, wrap up well and there are always jobs to be getting on with! Now’s your chance to catch up with any repairs or maintenance jobs that have been piling up over the year and you can make the most of any good weather by pruning and protecting plants for the winter.
Holly trees, with their red berries, are very attractive at this time of year and branches brought indoors make excellent Christmas decorations. But birds love to eat the berries just as much as we like to look at them and whilst I don’t begrudge them their food in winter, it can be frustrating to find your tree decimated just the day before you decide to gather the boughs for indoors. It’s a good idea to cover up at least part of a tree with netting to prevent this catastrophe, but make sure that it’s firmly secured so the birds don’t get caught up in it.
Watch out for frost
Protect plants vulnerable to frost – for example, Cordylines, and Evergreen Jasmine – by wrapping some fleece (which you can buy in a garden centre) around them. Once they have died back, some perennial plants such as Penstemons and Verbena Bonariensis, can benefit from an extra mulch to help their roots from freezing.
Wrap insulation around outside taps – hessian will do, but there are products on the market specially for insulating outside taps.
Prune woody ornamental plants, fruit trees and bushes, shredding the prunings and putting them on your compost heap, if you have one. Have a look at the shape of your deciduous trees and shrubs to see if they need any attention to improve their health or form. With no leaves on it’s easier to see what you are doing now. You will need a good pair of secateurs, a pair of loppers and a pruning saw for cutting off larger branches. Cut out any dead wood. In a smaller garden, if the plant is taking up too much space, it can be trimmed. The main point to remember is that the harder you prune, the stronger will be the resulting growth, so when restricting growth, light pruning will have a much more satisfactory effect than hacking back hard.