We’ve come to the end of the first full week of December and the only way that you would know that is by looking at the calendar. This unseasonably warm weather is great for being outside so if you have some time this weekend, here are some suggestions of things your garden could use in December:
- Winter rains can make us forget about watering the garden. Lack of water in the cold winter months can be fatal to a lot of plants. Keep an eye on plants and shrubs that are growing underlarge evergreens or under the eaves of the house which can easily dry out.
- From now until March, you can prune most shrubs and trees. Spring-blooming shrubs like azaleas and spiraea should be pruned after they flower in the spring. Don’t prune these plants now, you will cut off the flower buds. Roses should be pruned in mid-February.
- Be sure that all garden “garbage” that may contain any insects or disease is in the garbage and not the compost pile.
- Now is the time to stock up on kitty litter, sand, and plant fertilizer. They all make good substitutes for salt, if you need to melt ice off walks and driveways.
- The dead tops of many perennials can be removed. Leave the tops that will add winter interest or provide nourishment to wildlife. The list of those not to cut back includes Sedum, cone flower and the many ornamental grasses.
- Mulch can placed around perennials once the ground is frozen.
- If you put bulbs in pots, such as hyacinths, daffodils or tulips, last September for winter forcing, keep an eye on them. Make sure they remain moist, and in the dark until they have established their root systems. It’s possible that they have already filled their containers with roots and that the new top growth has begun. If that’s happened, bring them into the house and set them in a cool room with in indirect light. After a week or so, move them into bright light, and watch them bloom!
- Since we don’t get a lot of snow (if at all), you don’t have snow cover to protect the grass. Remember to not walk on frozen grass because you’ll break grass blades and may cause dieback that will show up next spring.
What other gardening to-dos are on your list for December?