In the Garden - December 2021

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat …

At the Garden Shop we can help out with that!

We’ve gifts and cards, and plants or lights,

And a coffee or lunch, with a choice of light bites

So why not try and shop local this year

And give us all good reason to cheer!! (or even do a little jig!)

Christmas is coming, and the excitement is building up in the Shop now! We are looking very festive with lots of fairy lights and a fine new display of poinsettias, hyacinths , and cyclamen from the lovely nursery in Dunkeswell (so no air miles there then!). We have a wide range of fabulous gift ideas (many of them Fair Trade), wrapping paper and bows, stocking fillers for the children, etc, many of which can be found nowhere else locally. Go on … shop local this year?

We are booking for Christmas Sunday lunches in December (12th and 19th now fully booked). You can be assured of a very warm welcome, and a Christmas cracker!! Please phone or call in at the Shop for more details and menu choices. Please book by the previous Thursday. We can also cater for groups of up to 30 during the week. A great way to give your club or family a treat.

So onto December in the Garden Even though it is December there is still always something to be doing gardening wise, so let’s crack on … by following our handy tips you will have a very content garden outside, and an even more content gardener inside! THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER?

So, my favourite winter pastime … get ready now, collecting together seed and young plant catalogues, books, and websites, to start preparing ideas for your garden next year. I think there is nothing better than a warm fire on a cold, dark night and imagining flower and vegetable borders for next year. After all, gardeners are always the most optimistic of people, if something fails this year, you can always try again next!

There’s plenty you can do now to prepare your garden for the colder weather, protect your plants against the elements and make sure that, come spring, everything will be ready and raring to go.

  • Get those tools nice and clean before putting them away, this will stop them rusting. It’s also a good idea to carefully clean the cutting blades on the lawnmower and give them a wipe with cooking oil. A reminder that we have a monthly sharpening service for any tools that have gone blunt.

  • With the increasing prevalence of burglaries from outdoor sheds in rural areas, you might want to consider covering any windows to keep out prying eyes. Also a good time to check and see if your expensive stored items are covered on the household insurance as they may not be if kept outside.

  • Give any outdoor furniture a really good wash and brush up before bringing into a shed or garage.

  • Use any sunny days to give flower beds a really good clear out of any dead or rotting material which can harbour disease (and slugs, yuck!). Remove plants that are dead or dying and cut back any dead material. Finally top with a generous mulch of bark chippings, compost etc which will protect perennials especially from the worst of the frosts and put off cats and pests as well.

  • If you are lucky to have a greenhouse, then ladle it with TLC and give it a really good tidy and clean up the glass. This keeps pests at bay and you will have a racing start next year when it comes to sowing time.

  • If you haven’t already done so, cover up those tender plants such as banana, ferns and fig trees with a wrap.

  • It’s a good time now to re-pot houseplants, and check them for bugs and pests. Central heating is great for us humans, but pests love it too, so try and do this regularly as they can soon take over your display romping from one plant to the next. Water as required when the top surface of the compost feels dry, and feed monthly during the winter.

  • Summer may have gone, but colour can still be found in the garden. Skimmia’s come in a wide range of both flower- and berry-colour from red to pink to orange, Cornus (with many colours of stem, red, green, white etc), rosemary with it’s fabulous blue flowers (my Rosemary Riviera Falls flowered all through the winter last year), and cyclamen hederafolium which can be naturalised under trees. Why not visit local RHS or National Trust gardens for inspiration?

  • Leaves falling into ponds can cause all sorts of problems, polluting the water and blocking pump filters. Lay some netting over the top and weigh down with stones or bricks, but remember to remove them periodically.

  • Give your lawn a final mow, and, if you have fruit trees, remove any apples etc that may have fallen (my least favourite job as we have an orchard of about 12 ancient apple trees in the garden). Remove any fallen leaves, and bag up to turn into leaf mould for next year. Drainage can be improved by spiking. If the turf gets really wet or frozen during the cold months, try and avoid walking on it as this can compress the soil beneath.

Finally, we would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas, and a Peaceful New Year, and to thank everyone for your continued and very valued custom.

Please note that we will be closed from Christmas Day until the 1st January for a well earned little holiday! We open again on 2nd January.

Sue Brown

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