Task of the Month

Our horticultural experts are on hand to give you monthly advice on what to do now! We'll help you tackle tasks one month at a time to get your garden in tip top shape all year round.

December

Top Tip

Any root vegetables left over from this year will make delicious healthy soup. Any onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, leeks, tomatoes and lots more can be blended and cooked in many ways.

Look up good cook books for easy recipes to follow and use up everything you have left over. Soup is a great warmer in a cold December

As cold as a winter garden can be it can still visually give you spectacular scenery to match what inspires you in warmer months. The key to winter colour is planning. Find out the best plants for colour that stands out be that berries, bark, foliage, flowers and form. Be sure to use some when planting new beds or replacing plants in the spring. Look up the following- Hamamelis mollis the ‘Chinese Witch Hazel’ which has fragrant spidery yellow to orange flowers- Cornus alba ‘Siberica’ the ‘Red Barked dogwood’ with has striking red stems against snow and frost or under planted with the silver foliage of Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver queen’. Look out for hollies with foliage of dark green, variegated silver or gold and the berries which have formed.

Another beautiful winter plant is the ‘Spotted Laurel’ Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata with big bright red berries against mottled green and yellow leaves.

Outdoors

Any plants you have growing in the wrong place and you know will grow better or have more space it is time to move them. Do this in favourable conditions when the soil is not too wet and be careful not to compact the ground around where you are working. Put down a board to stand on. Take as much of a root ball as possible and replant in a larger hole with plenty of Bord na Móna Growise Enriched Top Soil in the bottom of the hole and around the root ball.
Why not spread a layer of mulch around the base of tender plants and over underground dormant ones. This will protect early spring shoots and heavy clay soils from compacting. Use either Bord na Móna Growise Superfine Bark or for larger areas Bord na Móna Growise Mini Chip Bark. The effect of both of these products colour-wise is also advantageous in Winter against the plants mentioned above.
Other things to be getting on with if you do get a sunny day is to continue Winter digging - but only in the most favourable of conditions as compacted soil in Winter will go like concrete! If conditions are not favourable keep spreading layers of Bord na Móna Growise Farmyard Manure to dig in later in Spring.
In dry conditions continue to plant bare root fruit trees and also keep the leaves raked up as often as you can and add them to the compost heap.
In case you get a heavy dump of snow in December, brush it off conifers as it can break the branches. Also keep your glasshouse and shed roof cleared down as the weight of snow can be damaging almost to everything.

In the Glasshouse

An unheated glasshouse will be pretty dormant this month. Pick up any dead or fallen leaves and just generally look after it and prepare for Spring. If you are lucky to have a heated glasshouse there is a lot you can do. Visit your local garden centre and pick up the new seed catalogues. By next month you can be sowing your first seeds for the coming year in Bord na Móna Growise Seed & Cutting Compost. Also available in garden centre now will be Christmas pot plants. These in general like a cool room indoors so you could buy the best plants early in the month and keep them in the heated glasshouse and bring them in for Christmas. Try Azaleas, Cyclamen, Poinsettia, Zygocactus ‘the Christmas cactus’ and Solanum capsicastrum ‘the Winter Cherry’.
Enjoy December in your garden!
Brendan Howell
Bord na Móna Horticulturist

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Gardening should be fun, but often people are afraid of getting things wrong, and too worried to give it a go.

That’s where we come in – we’ve got simple tasks for improving your garden, laid out month by month. Just follow along and soon you’ll have a beautiful garden, and the satisfaction of knowing you did it all yourself. If you’d like a more practical garden, why not use your outdoor space to grow your own fruits and vegetables?

Our growbags and simple instructions take all the guesswork out of it, and you’ll be reaping the rewards in no time!