December – What to do in your garden this month

December 1, 2016 by Cherry Lane

Although December is a great month for putting your feet up in front of the fire and making plans for the following spring, there are gardening tasks that can be done this time of year, including ways to prepare for Christmas…

Plant up festive containers.   Fill pots with dwarf Conifers, Cyclamen, Skimmia, evergreen Grasses and dwarf Holly.  Place the planted containers either side of your front door or somewhere near a path to enjoy the festive mix of colours.  You could even go a step further by including battery operated, outdoor fairy lights – wrap them around the conifers, in amongst the foliage and around the pot.  This will make a welcome sight for you and your guests.

Festive container

Plant soft fruit.  This is a good time to plant Raspberry canes, as well as other fruit bushes such as Blackcurrants, Redcurrants, Gooseberries and Blackberries, as they are now dormant.  Raspberries need a support system, two posts with straining wire stretched between them is the usual way, with canes planted 45cm apart into well dug soil enriched with farmyard manure, but if you haven’t the space for this, three canes can be planted around, and tied into a single post.  Blackberries need a similar system to Raspberries, although they grow much bigger and more rapidly, so you only need one plant per 2m stretch.  Currants and Gooseberries are free standing and don’t require support systems when grown as a bush.

Soft fruit

Check your tools.  Open your shed and look over tools for damage and dirt, cleaning if necessary.  Think about what tools and equipment you will need for 2017, and add them to your Christmas list!

Protect exotic shrubs and trees.  Wrap your Olives trees, Bay Laurels, hardy Palms and other semi hardy plants in horticultural fleece.  This thin, breathable material works best when wrapped around a few times, as multiple layers insulate better.  Citrus trees such as oranges and Kumquats, as well as non-hardy palms like Phoenix canariensis need a little more protection: bring them in to a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.  Cordylines (Torbay palms) simply need their leaves bunching close together and tying securely with soft twine to stop the ice and snow getting in.

Cordyline tied up

Choose your Christmas tree.  Come and pick your fresh cut non-needledrop Nordman Fir.  We have all sizes between 120cm/4ft and 240cm/8ft, and hundreds of trees to view – you’re bound to find a beautiful specimen!  Potted trees at up to 4ft tall are available too.  We also have a great offer – a tree that comes with a free base and measures between 150cm/5ft and 200cm/6ft 6in and costs only £29.99   When you get your tree home, take it out of it’s netting as soon as possible, and keep it outside until you are ready to bring it in.  Saw 2cm/1in off the trunk of your cut tree to freshen the cut and let it take up water – keep it in a bucket of water so it can soak up plenty until you are ready to put it up.  For best results put up the tree in a cool room, or at least away from heat sources.  Keeping the tree cool and watered daily will ensure it stays in the best condition through the season.

Protect fruit trees from Winter Moth.  Fix Greasebands to the trunk of Apple, Pear, Cherry and Plum trees to stop female Winter Moths climbing up the tree and laying their eggs in the branches.  These moths are wingless and climb up the trunk.  Their young then hatch in spring eating their way through leaves, blossom and fruitlets.


Do your Christmas Shopping!  At Cherry Lane this Christmas, there are gifts galore for gardeners and non-gardeners alike.  Planted containers full of festive colour are very popular – we have both indoor and outdoor baskets, bowls and tubs.  Or for someone who enjoys nurturing and watching things grow, we have bulb and seed planting kits which come presented in a container that you can grow them in.  We do of course stock a wide range of Christmassy houseplants, the favourites being Poinsettias and Cyclamen, all of which make great presents on their own, or as a little extra.  Bay trees and Box topiary are both popular Christmas gifts, and are good to give in pairs, or for the promise of flower in the spring, Camellias are a great choice.  Of course you can find many other ideas for presents at Cherry Lane, including toys, sweets and chocolates, giftware, tools for the avid allotmenteer, and even gifts for your pets.  Add this to the huge range of decorations, lights, trees, cards and gift-wrap, making us your one-stop shop for Christmas!

Bulb Planters

Mike, Cherry Lane Garden Centres.