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. However, the main job to do is curl up in front of a roaring fire with old gardening magazines and seed catalogues and start to plan your garden for next year.
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.
Feed the birds in cold weather, and do what you can to prevent ponds, water features and birdbaths freezing over.
Add Compost wherever you see bare earth in the border. Over the winter the worms will drag it down to enrich the soil ready for new growth in the spring.
Prune apple and pear trees while dormant. They are best pruned every winter to ensure a good cycle of fruiting wood. Trees that aren’t pruned become congested with old branches and so less productive. Aim to create an open, goblet shape with four or five main branches at the most. You will need a good pair of secateurs, a pair of loppers and a pruning saw for cutting off larger branches and completely cut out any dead wood.