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Traditionally, December is regarded as a quiet month with nothing much to do in the garden, but in reality, there’s always something needing your attention.

Before the heavy frosts and snow of winter set in, dig over any bare soil, especially in the vegetable patch, adding and leave for the weather to break it down for you.

There will still be plants that need tidying up and cutting down and as you do this you could well find stems, berries, and leaves to add to your winter flower arrangements especially around Christmas time. Finds from the garden whether left natural or sprayed with colour will only need a few bought flowers to make a lovely display.

If you sowed winter salad leaves indoors, they should be ready for picking now to add variety to many meals. As you use them up do not forget to sow more, all you need is a bright windowsill. If you did not do so before have a go now, we have a great range of seeds, available in store.

Unless the soil is frozen you can plant fruit trees and bushes as they are dormant at this time of year. It is also a good time to take hardwood cuttings of fruit such as currants.

Things to do during December

Make sure your patio pots are protected from the weather, they should be raised on pot feet so that they drain properly. Remember frozen water expands, pots do not. The result? Broken pots!

We hate to say it, but your lawn may still need a mow if the weather is not too harsh. On a mild dry day, set the blades high and give it a light trim. The edges will also benefit from a tidy up with a half-moon edger.

You can continue to harvest hardy root crops and brassicas. Parsnips and leeks can be lifted and “heeled” into a trench, in case the weather deteriorates, protect with fleece. While we are on the subject of vegetables, check any that you have been storing and remove any that are rotting.

Wet weather gives rise to mould and algae on paving and walling so if we get a dry spell take the opportunity to clean them up using Patio and Path Cleaner.

What to grow from seed during December

In a cool greenhouse or on a bright windowsill:

Begonias and geraniums

For vegetables outdoors:

Broad bean

Indoors on a windowsill:

Chives, rosemary and parsley

Wildlife Gardening for December

Keep bird feeders topped up.

Make sure the bird bath is clean, full and free from ice.

Don’t pick all your winter berries for indoor decoration, leave some for the birds.

Uncut seed heads will continue to provide food for birds.

Plan to plant native trees and shrubs next year if re-organising.

Put out hedgehog food or dog food (no chicken, bread or milk).

Leave untidy corners for overwintering wildlife.

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The Garden CentreTo Visit in Essex

We have parking spaces for up to 450 cars and easy access both onto and off of the A127, which is the main dual-carriage way into Southend-on-Sea. The A127 is off Junction 29 of the M25 which is a 10 minute drive to our door. Plan your visit to Summerhill today. We can’t wait to see you.

Summerhill Garden Centre, Pipps Hill Road North, A127 Arterial Road, Billericay, Essex CM11 2UJ