December here in Holland has been the warmest on record, with temperatures above 10C … confusing birds, plants and humans all together! It should be -2,-4 or even -10C
I even have my first new rosebud nearly opening on the south facing wall … will take photo to prove it! and my rosemary has also started to flower again!!! photo to follow too!!! So if the plants are confused so must I then… tempted to start clearing the garden, but know I mustn’t…. sitting tight then for another 2 months…. at least! You never know with the weather of course! One job that is creeping up on me though is the weeding…. I thought I was done with that for a while but warmth brings on weeds too…. so will need to put wellies on and take bucket on a garden trip soon….
Here are the other jobs to do in the garden to keep you off the streets!!!
■ Dig over soil in the vegetable garden.
■ Plant new fruit bushes if the ground is not frozen.
■ Continue taking hardwood cuttings of deciduous trees, shrubs and currant bushes.
■ Buy or order vegetable seeds and seed potatoes.
■ Collect egg boxes to chit potatoes in.
■ Cut the old leaves from hellebores to reveal their flowers.
■ Plant bare-root roses, trees, shrubs and hedging.
■ Melt frozen pond surfaces so fish can breathe.
■ Recycle your Christmas tree or shred it for mulch.
■ Treat timber structures such as pergolas, fences and obelisks.
■ Prune apple and pear trees.
■ Regularly put out food and water for bird life.
■ Begin forcing rhubarb by covering plants with a forcing pot or bucket.
■ Repair lawn edges or patches
■ Turn the compost heap to encourage the process
■ Order seeds and seed potatoes for chitting
■ Pinch out autumn-sown sweet-pea tips once the plant has four pairs of leaves
■ Remove and burn dead leaves from around roses to control black spot
■ Use gritty sand rather than salt on icy paths to avoid damage to adjacent plants
■ Ventilate greenhouses and cold frames on fine days
■ Cover soil with cloches or fleece ready for early seed sowing.
■ Plant out indoor bulbs that have finished flowering in a spot where they can naturalise.
■ Broad beans can be sown in pots for planting out later.
■ This is a good time to sharpen the edges of flower beds.
■ Surround pots of bulbs with wire netting or sprigs of prickly holly to prevent hungry squirrels digging them up.
■ When weather allows, dig over heavy soil, incorporating plenty of coarse grit with the compost or manure to improve soil texture.
■ Remove perennial weeds from beneath fruit trees and bushes and apply a mulch.
■ Control disease by removing and burning old foliage as hellebore flowers emerge.
■ Check greenhouse or conservatory plants for pests or diseases and treat promptly.
■ As the new flowers begin to emerge on hellebores, cut away the old leaves. This not only allows them to be seen at their best, it also removes leaves infected with leaf spot. Do not compost diseased leaves. Feed the plants with compost or well-rotted manure.
■ Check stored fruit and vegetables regularly and use or throw away any that are showing signs of deterioration.
■ Prepare the greenhouse for seed-sowing.
■ Send off seed orders to ensure you get your first choice of varieties.
■ Once the seeds arrive, write the labels and paperclip them to the packets – time-saving later and enjoyable now.
* check all your garden equipment… and make sure you have cleaned and oiled all tools. Give secateurs a good oil…. so ready to use when necessary.
* give your potted plants a check up too… they should be given the odd watering and remove any dead leaves etc.