Friday, 6 December 2019

December in the Garden

The weather can’t seem to make its mind up at the moment, but at Borde Hill Garden we’re well-prepared for any circumstance. The greenhouses all have heaters for days when the cold bites, and special vents that can be opened up on milder days. It’s the plant equivalent of a smart heating system – except in this case the smart ones are our dedicated team of gardeners, who are always one step ahead of the conditions. 

Elsewhere the leaves are a job that needs constant attention at this time of year, and we’ll be clearing them from lawns and borders throughout the month. If the weather decides to gift us with a short warmer spell, we’ll also then mow the lawns to keep them looking neat and tidy. 

We retain perennial stems for wildlife to nibble at, or for winter interest, but where that’s not the case, we’ll finish cutting them all back this month. 

Similarly, we’ll be out pruning acers, birches and vines. We do this now rather than later to avoid them bleeding, which can damage the health of the plant.

It’s now also the right time for hardwood cuttings to be taken, in preparation for next season. On the planting front we will focus on deciduous trees and shrubs if the ground isn’t too frozen, and we’ll continue to dig over and incorporate compost to any vacant areas. Doing this now and leaving the ground rough means winter frosts will naturally break it down. The drainage on the outdoor pots will all need checking ahead of winter hitting in earnest, and we’ll be surveying all the over-wintering plants for pests – aphids in particular.

What to look out for in the garden this month
Camellia sasanqua
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’

Callicarpa bodinieri Profusion
Liriope muscari