As the festive season approaches and the winter chill sets in, December presents a unique set of tasks and opportunities for garden enthusiasts. While the garden may seem dormant, this month is a crucial period for maintenance, planting certain species, and embracing the holiday spirit with garden decorations. Here’s a guide to making the most of your garden in December.
Protecting Plants from Frost: December often brings frost, which can harm vulnerable plants. Protect your perennials by adding a layer of mulch around their base. For delicate plants, consider using frost cloths or moving them indoors.
Pruning and Cleanup: It’s the perfect time to prune dormant trees and shrubs. Remove any dead or diseased branches to encourage healthy growth in spring.
Lawn Care: Avoid walking on frosty grass to prevent damage. If the weather is mild, this is an excellent time to aerate your lawn and remove any thatch buildup.
Tool Maintenance: Clean, sharpen, and oil your gardening tools. Proper maintenance in December means they’ll be ready to go when spring arrives.
Planting in December
Bare-Root Plants: December is ideal for planting bare-root trees and shrubs, such as fruit trees and roses. The dormant season gives these plants time to establish roots in their new location before the growing season.
Bulbs for Spring: If you haven’t already, plant spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Ensure you plant them at the correct depth for a beautiful display in the spring.
Winter Vegetables: Depending on your climate, you can plant hardy vegetables like onions, garlic, and some varieties of lettuce that can survive the winter.
Natural Decor: Use your garden to inspire your holiday decor. Holly, ivy, evergreens, pinecones, and branches can be used to create wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces.
Lighting: Add a magical touch to your garden with outdoor-safe holiday lights. Wrap them around trees and shrubs, or use them to highlight garden paths and structures.
Outdoor Displays: Consider a themed display for your front garden, such as a winter wonderland scene with snowmen and reindeer. Ensure any decorations are weather-resistant and securely fastened.
Wildlife Care: Remember the wildlife in your garden. Bird feeders and water baths can help birds during the harsh winter months.
Composting: Keep adding to your compost heap, but avoid adding perennial weeds or diseased plants.
Planning for Next Year: Use the quieter winter months to plan next year’s garden. Research plants, sketch out garden designs, and order seeds and supplies.
Houseplants: Remember indoor plants. They’ll need less water in the winter, but ensure they still receive enough light and aren’t affected by drafts.
December might seem like a time for gardeners to rest, but it’s filled with opportunities to prepare, maintain, and enjoy your garden uniquely. Whether it’s through winter plantings, festive decorations, or essential maintenance tasks, plenty will keep you busy in the garden during this holiday month. So, wrap up warm, get out there, and enjoy the crisp winter air as you lay the groundwork for a splendid garden in the year ahead.