Outdoors

December
  • Check fences, tree straps, ties and stakes after each gale
  • If you have any spring bulbs still not planted then hurry up or if too late put them in pots undercover
  • Plant out hardy trees and bushes only when soil is still in good condition never if waterlogged or frozen
  • Prune to six buds Wistaria shoots already shortened in summer
  • Do major pruning work to trees and bushes (but not to stone fruits or evergreens)
  • Cut timber for firewood, preferably when moon is waning
  • Cut any hedges not trimmed in summer
  • Make a bonfire of diseased and thorny material, save charcoal for barbecues and ashes for applying in spring
  • Cut the grass only if weather is very mild; collect last fallen leaves with any few clippings and plastic bag them for leaf mould
  • Pee in bags of leaves and they rot much quicker
  • Lime most tough grass swards every other year but not amongst Ericaceous plants or lime haters
  • Put empty hanging baskets over particularly valued soon to be emerging bulbs or herbaceous plant crowns so they won’t be accidentally stood on
  • Place an insulating cap of empty hanging baskets full of dry leaves or fern over the crowns of dormant tenderer plants such as Dahlias
  • Try a Victorian trick to make empty borders seasonally attractive by pushing into the soil clumps of evergreen prunings, preferavly some with cheerful foliage, flowers or berries
  • Clean out gutters and drains now the last leaves have fallen
  • Place or replace an old sock on each downpipe to catch debris washed down by rain
  • Take all remaining hosepipes and plastic watering cans, empty pots etc under cover before hard frosts make them too brittle to move
  • Have a bucket of sharp sand ready to sprinkle on icy and slippery paths and stepping stones to give secure footing
  • Get your appetite back- turn your compost heap, all out onto a sheet, wet it then repack it all well mixed up, and what an apt end to a year