Gardening in December: It's a quiet month in the garden but on nicer days it's worth getting out to repair and clear.
· Containers that stay outdoors all winter need to be raised up with pot feet so they don't get waterlogged.
· It's not too late to plant up a window box or hanging basket with winter bedding.
· Cut back ornamental grasses and bamboos if needed.
· Order your seed catalogues; these are all available online, but it can be more fun to pore over a paper version.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
· Leeks, Brussels sprouts and any Christmas potatoes should be ready to be dug up now.
· It's a good time to prune apple and pear trees. The idea is to form an open, cup shape with no crossing branches. There's probably also a lot of cleaning up to do as well as sweeping away dead leaves.
· Now that a lot of the growth has died away, there's an opportunity to take a good look at the hard landscaping in the garden – the fences, paths and seats – to make sure they're all in good condition for next year.
· Patios and paths can be scrubbed with a stiff broom or blasted with a pressure washer.
· Treat any wooden structures in the garden, such as sheds, fences, and trellis, with preservative.
· Clear out the garden shed and make sure it's secure for winter.
Stay off the lawn as much as possible, as frosty or waterlogged grass is easily damaged. If you have to go across it, try laying boards down temporarily.
INDOOR BULBS AND PLANTS
Create indoor displays for winter tables. Brightly coloured stems and berries look beautiful and are a great substitute for cut flowers in winter.
IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING...
...hang out a bird feeder – somewhere you can see it but that the cats can't get to. There are lots of different ways to help birds through winter but a feeder is easy and rewarding. It's also one of the simplest methods of attracting a good variety of species. You'll probably see sparrows, and maybe finches and blue tits too. The ones that come will depend on what food you put out