December

Lawns

December - Lawns

  • In frosty, snowy or wet weather, avoid walking on lawn to prevent damage
  • If you need to walk across the same stretch of lawn each day, consider laying a path
  • Continue aerating lawns
  • Continue to clean and oil lawnmowers and carry out any necessary maintenance before putting away for winter

Container Plants

December - Container Plants

  • Prevent waterlogging of plants by raising pots off the ground to allow good drainage
  • Deadhead winter flowering pansies that are in pots and tube to keep them free flowering
  • Prune shrubs removing dead and damaged branches.
  • Hydrangeas in tubs should be moved to a frost-free area
  • Early colour can be achieved by planting up window boxes with winter flowering pansies and ornamental cabbage

Trees & Shrubs

December - Trees & Shrubs

  • Continue to collect fallen leaves from trees, and especially where they have fallen on the lawn
  • Continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs in mild weather
  • In snowy weather prevent the snow from breaking branches
  • Take root cuttings or shrubs like clerodendrums and aralias
  • Continue to firm in newly planted trees and shrubs lifted by frost

HTA Plant of the Moment - December

Photo - Holly varieties (including Ilex 'Golden King')

It will soon be Christmas, and what better way to celebrate the season and bring festive cheer to your garden than with two traditional Christmas favourites - Holly and Ivy. Countless cards carry their image, often with leaves touched by frost or covered with a crisp layer of snow, and your garden displays will have even greater appeal.

These are perfect garden plants, and they'll provide material for indoor arrangements and table decorations too. What better way to welcome visitors over the Christmas period than with a woven wreath made using holly, ivy and other seasonal flowers and foliage picked from the garden.

Both plant families offer a wide range of wonderful evergreen varieties, with many boasting beautifully variegated leaves. Fruits and berries provide seasonal food for hungry birds, but if you want a few sprigs to enjoy indoors you'll need to protect berry-laden branches with pieces of tightly fastened fine netting or fleece to keep birds away.

Top four favourite Holly varieties

From green to gold, silver and cream, choose holly varieties that add interest to your garden right through the year, including these award-winning varieties:
Golden King' - Berrying female variety
Silver Queen' - Male variety
J.C. van Tol' - Self-fertile berrying female variety
Hedgehog Holly (Ilex ‘Ferox Argentea') - Male variety

Top four favourite Ivy varieties

Dozens of ivy varieties are available, and many of the best have received an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society. Here are a few of the most popular ivy varieties to consider for your garden and patio pots:
Sulphur Heart' (also sometimes called ‘Paddy's Pride')
Hedera colchica ‘Dentata Variegata'
Glacier' - versatile variegated variety, often used in indoor arrangements
Ivalace' - attractive crimpled and lobed green leaves

© Adam Pasco Media

Top tips for planning and planting

1. Prune holly carefully with secateurs to shorten individual shoots rather than a hedge cutter or shears that can tear and damage leaves.
2. Established, overgrown holly can be cut back hard in spring to encourage new growth to develop from nearer the base to revitalise old plants.
3. Ivy can be invasive, so check growth regularly through the year, snipping off wayward shoots to keep plants in check.
4. Plain green shoots sometimes develop on variegated plants. Prune these away at their base as soon as you spot them.