It’s hard to believe it but it's December already and we can’t believe how fast the year has gone!
Throughout the year you have seen your garden transform from being covered in frost to the colours of spring, the blooms of summer and the fabulous autumnal leaves from popular autumnal plants including Rhus typhina, liquidambar and the beautiful Parrotia percisa tree...
The days are shorter, the weather is really taking a wintery turn and chances are, you don’t want to be out in your garden in December too much.
As always, we are here to help with some gardening tips and advice. Here, Paraic outlines some key tasks to incorporate into your December gardening plans. He is also sharing some Christmas inspiration for your garden!
- Decorate the outside of your home with a cone-shaped, evergreen conifer or a pyramid-shaped boxwood tree. Just add some battery-operated, outdoor, fairy lights for the perfect Christmas setting. To add an extra hint of intrigue, underplant your tree with winter flowering heather. This will add colour and interest to your outdoor space over the festive period.
- Now is an ideal time to choose the perfect Christmas tree for your home this festive season. Paraic recommends the Irish-grown Nordmann Fir tree. It is a non-shed Christmas tree with rich green foliage and a fresh pine scent. The layered branch structure makes it ideal for decorating and the tree looks and smells fantastic.
Care Tip: Cut 3 - 4 inches off the bottom of the tree before placing it into a stand. Refill the stand with fresh water daily.
Indoor plants for Christmas
“The poinsettia is a beautiful indoor plant with fabulous red bracts producing a beautiful show of colour from early December through Christmas and the New Year.”
- Paraic Horkan
- The poinsettia is a stunning indoor plant with eye-catching red and green foliage.
- The Poinsettia plant and Christmas have been linked for many years. It all began in Mexico when a poor girl brought a bunch of weeds as a present to baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. She was burdened with sadness as she brought this gift to Jesus but her cousin told her that “even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus happy.” As she placed the bouquet of weeds on the alter, they transformed into bright red flowers. Now, the bright red flowers of the Poinsettia plant are known as ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.
- The Poinsettia plant needs warmth. Place it in a warm, centrally-heated location.
- The plant needs light. Place it in a bright area with an abundance of natural light.
- It needs water. Use lukewarm water to water the plant from the base. Always allow the soil to dry out before re-watering.
Other indoor plants you can grow this Christmas
- Cyclamen: The cyclamen has a beautiful seasonal colour and is ideal for long-lasting colour.
- Azaleas: There's a wide variety of colours available and they're super easy to grow!
- Orchids: These are the perfect Christmas present.
- Red Cherry Plant: The Christmas cherry is a lovely seasonal Christmas plant with beautiful scarlet red berries all winter.
- Painters Pallet: This plant has gorgeous red heart-shaped bracts, making it perfect for Christmas time.
- The foliage of boxwood balls and cones can look a little tired and yellow during the winter months. Care for them by applying a dressing of Topbuxus Health Mix. Simply mix the health mix solution with water and apply it to the foliage. This mix will encourage a rich green colour, that will last throughout the season.
- Remember to look after the wild birds in your garden this December, while their food is in short supply. Feed the birds with high-protein nuts and sunflower seeds, one of the best food sources for your garden songbirds. You can see our range of wild bird food online at Petworld here.
- Prune back your fruiting trees this December. Shorten this year's growth by 2/3rds, removing any damaged or diseased branches. Next, apply a dressing of winter wash to the entire tree to kill any overwintering pests.
- Look after your deciduous trees and shrubs by applying a dressing of winter tree wash. This product will clean the trees of overwintering bugs and pests. It is suitable for use throughout December and January.
- Install a water storage butt into your garden to help harvest rainwater. Rainwater is the cleanest water you can use in your garden. It is chemically free of chlorine and fluoride and your plants will love it. Simply install a water storage butt now to a water down-pipe on your greenhouse or home and enjoy lots of fresh, clean water next spring and summer.
- Cover your compost heap with an old carpet or black plastic sheeting. This will keep the temperatures up, ensuring decomposition can continue, even when it is very cold. Keep turning it if possible and watch out for any animal life that may become trapped by your insulating layer.
Store at least one bag of sowing compost, one potting-on compost and one multi-purpose now in warm, dry conditions. Then, if it is needed quickly, it will not be frozen or waterlogged. Plants and seeds do not do well in sodden, and cold compost.