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December jobs in the garden

I've kept the list to points to tick off this month as I am sure you are all working flat out on the preparation for the festivities and the garden can take a back seat as you prepare for the Christmas break.

I have protected my terracotta pots from cracking in freezing weather by bringing them indoors or wrapping in bubble polythene

Keep raking up accumulated fallen leaves in borders that could be harbouring slugs and other pests

Plant those bare-root roses and other deciduous shrubs, plus ornamental trees

Hang bird feeders near roses to attract hungry birds that will also pick off any overwintering pests

Move plants in pots to a sheltered spot if conditions turn very cold, as their roots are more exposed to the elements

Pile straw or bracken around the base of tender shrubs and climbers to protect them from falling temperatures

Plant fragrant winter shrubs in pots on the doorsteps, including chimonanthus, sarcococca and Daphne odora

Check stored bulbs and corms regularly for any signs of rot

Put out fresh water for birds every day during frosty weather

Bring all watering equipment indoors, including hoses and sprinklers, so they don't freeze and split

Scoop fallen leaves and debris from ponds, leave on the side so pondlife can escape, then add to the compost bin

Clear out your shed, ( or in my case the van ) and organise and clean your tools

Work off Christmas excesses by digging over bare areas of ground, incorporating garden compost

Check tree ties and stakes are firm enough to stand up to winter storms

Order well-rotted manure or mushroom compost to dig in over winter or spread over bare soil for worms to take down

Order your summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli

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