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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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December in the Garden

by User Not Found | Nov 27, 2012

DECEMBER-IN-THE-GARDEN

This month’s ‘December in the Garden’ is brought to us by horticulturist Angela Slevin from CountryLife, Tullamore. The tidy up about the garden continues this month as more and more leaves fall to the ground and late season flowers fade. For many of us December is that time of year when we down our tools, hang up the gardening gear and put our gardens to bed for the winter season. However, Angela is on hand to remind us what jobs need doing this month. 
Winter_Flowers_and_Berries
(Images kozzi.com)
Flowers
  • Berried and budded plants such as Skimmia Reevesiana, Aucuba, Gaultheria, Callicarpa, Viburnum, Vaccinium, Pyracantha and Pernettyia are perfect for those winter pots that need replanting. They will fill your garden with winter colour and attract wild birds. (Check out our Berry Mad Promotions)
              

  • Bring another splash of colour to your garden by adding winter Cyclamens, Pansies, Primroses, Viola, Ivy and spring bulbs you will have a long lasting winter display that will look great on any patio, so get planting now!
  • Move tender perennials from summer displays and bring them under cover to protect from the harsh winter weather, such as Leucanthemum and Agryanthemum.
  • Collect and dispose of all fallen rose leaves, especially those that are diseased and infected with Black spot. DO NOT place rose leaves on the compost heap. Bin them!
  • It’s time to prune Roses back by a third to prevent wind rock over the winter months. Don't worry about where you cut, once it's at an angle. Once all leaves have fallen, water diluted Armillatox or Jeyes Fluid all over - this will help kill the spore of Blackspot, which can overwinter.

Fruit & Veg

  • Tidy up your strawberry beds by removing unwanted runners, old leaves and developing weeds. Pot up the runners to increase stock plants, and keep in a tunnel or glasshouse.
  • Now is a great time of year to increase your stock of soft fruit by taking hard wood cuttings which can take up to a year to root. Currants and gooseberries are the easiest. If it’s your first try, a great place to grow these cuttings is in the corner of the fruit garden. Make them approximately 30cm long, straight cut below a node (where buds/leaves join stem), and slanted cut above a node on the top. Use rooting powder on bottoms, make a slit in ground 6 inches deep, layer of sand on bottom, and push cutting down by half its length.

Snow_Coated_Garden
(Images kozzi.com )
 Around the Garden

  • Winter is an excellent time for planting bare-root trees and hedges. They are cheaper than container grown plants and there is a great choice available. Care should be taken not to let the roots dry out when planting. Also add extra compost to the ground so they can root and get established quickly. Protect newly planted hedges with wind break in exposed areas
  • As the weather becomes increasingly cold it’s time to protect the more delicate plants with frost protection fleece. (Available in all CountryLife stores, sold by the metre.) 
  • Empty any of your pots that are not frost-proof and move them under cover to protect them from the winter weather.
  • Wrap your outside taps with insulation material to prevent them freezing over winter. 
  • Once your lawn has had its final cut of the year, ensure that you leave the mower running to use up all of the petrol before you store it away. Old, dirty petrol will give your mower loads of mechanical problems next Spring when you go to use it again. 
  • Regularly wash and disinfect any bird baths and feeders.
  • You probably noticed the fantastic autumn colours this year. If you want to plant Trees with Autumn colour for next year, now is a good time to plant them.  Quercus Rubra, Acer Rubrum, Fagus Dawyks Gold and Liquid Amber Styraciflua, and Acer Autumn Blaze are some of the best.

Angela’s tips for December in the garden will provide many opportunities for getting out and enjoying the fresh crisp air and the crunch of frosted grass beneath your feet this winter season. If you have any further questions for Angela on this December about the garden, please feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page.

For all your gardening needs this month visit our Online Shop or call into your local CountryLife Store. Also find us on Facebook and Twitter for information on special offers and upcoming events.

Angela's Bio

I've been a Horticulturalist with CountryLife Tullamore since April 2010. I am passionate about all things gardening and have been involved in the gardening industry from a young age as my family had an export plant Nursery and Garden Centre, where the seeds of my garden interests were sown. I have a National Diploma in Horticulture from Merrist Wood College, Surrey, UK. and a Certificate in Training and Continuing Education from National University of Ireland Maynooth. My experience has involved working and managing various Award Winning Garden Centres from 3 to 5 star grades. I also have delivered FETAC courses in Horticulture and evening classes at Athlone Institute of Technology – if you have a question or query on anything gardening related I would love to help!