Now’s the time to do some digging

It's easier with 2!

It’s easier with 2!

Early December is the perfect time to plant bare-root trees and fruit bushes in the garden while the soil is moist and still fairly warm. Dig a large planting hole, spread the roots and firm the soil as you back fill. Trees of course may also need a stake which should be knocked into the ground first to avoid damaging the roots.

Mist houseplants once a week with tepid water to maintain some humidity around their leaves. You can also carry on watering and feeding through the winter months. Ideally allow the compost to start and dry out before you water again.

Now the ferny foliage on asparagus has turned yellow it can be cut down to ground level and composted. At the same time work through the bed to remove any annual or perennial weeds taking care not to damage the asparagus roots.

Now that all the leaves are off the trees check around gutters to make sure they are not being blocked by the leaves.

To make the garden look more attractive for Christmas you can plant a winter container. Shrubs such as pittosporum, euonymus and skimmia are ideal for this and to add extra colour add some winter flowering pansies and polyanthus. I also push in a few stems with berries on into the container to make it look really festive.

If you are buying a poinsettia for Christmas make sure that is wrapped in the garden centre to prevent it from being chilled on its journey home. Never buy a poinsettia from an outdoor stall as the cold will make the plant drop its leaves a day or two after you get it home.

Winter is a good time to prune old overgrown shrubs in the garden. Start by cutting out any dead wood and them thin out one-third old the oldest stems by cutting them down to as near ground level as possible. Then cut the rest of the bush back by half. This will encourage new growth to rejuvenate the plant.

We’ve had some frosty weather of late which is good for the garden, but it can harm the roots of plants growing outside in containers. To protect the roots from freezing wrap some cardboard or bubble polythene around the pots to act as insulation.

If you have got vegetables such as onions or squashes in store in a garage or shed check them every couple of weeks to make sure they are not starting to rot.