Seasonal Gardening provides a month by month account of tasks that need to be done in the garden. Our free online guide is packed with hints, tips, helpful projects and useful gardening ideas for every season.
Covering the whole of the UK (Great Britain, England, Scotland & Wales) - Hardiness Zones 7, 8 & 9.
What to do this month
propagating your own plants
Take time this month to finish off any winter digging, this opens up the soil ready for frosts to break it down. Improve difficult soils by adding lots of humus and organic matter. There is still plenty of time from now until the end of the month to plant spring bulbs.
Don't forget to order seed catalogues early so you can make plans for what to grow next year.
If you are planning on buying a real Christmas tree this year, then take a look at our article on ways to prevent that annoying needle drop.
If you have not done so already, take time now to protect susceptible plants from the worst of the weather. Cover semi-tender plants with protection to prevent the worst of the frost. Unwanted conifer branches are ideal for use as a blanket to protect tender climbers or shrubs. Semi-hardy perennials can be protected with a covering of old fern leaves, straw or other forms of open mulch or you can use garden fleece.
After heavy snowfalls, take a few moments to brush off or shake covered branches of trees, hedges and large shrubs. Heavy snow can weigh down the branches, causing them to snap or bend out of shape.
Strong winter winds can also be a problem. So check supports, stakes and ties on all shrubs and trees. You can also cut back unprotected rose bushes by a third to lessen the danger of wind rock, although any new shoots that form may suffer frost damage. Firm-in any plants the have been lifted by winds or severe frost.
Check outside water taps. Ensure they are switched off, drained and covered with suitable waterproof lagging.
With natural food in short supply from now until spring, it is important to keep bird feeders and bird tables topped up with fresh supplies of seeds, fat balls and other treats. Remember that a good supply of unfrozen water is just as essential as feed. Also ensure that feeders and water baths are cleaned regularly to prevent the spread of diseases.
If you want to encourage Robins and Wrens into the garden, put out some tasty high fat treats such as grated mild hard cheese.
Erica (heather). With very little in flower at this time of year, heathers provide that much needed splash of colour in the garden. Plenty of good hardy varieties will be available in garden centres now. Look for varieties that have the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
A vigorous evergreen perennial that brings much need colour to empty winter borders.
Started in 1829 by Robert Staynor and maintained by the Forestry Commission since 1956, Westonbirt Arboretum is Britain's oldest and largest tree collection.
The Robin is often seen in December but can be seen all year around in UK gardens.
New plant descriptions added include: