By December the garden is wrapping up for a little bit of a rest. It’s almost as though it’s giving me permission to step away & make extra time for the holiday festivities… and then maybe a little nap myself.
Yup – It’s Still Fall
The garry oak drop the last of their leaves in early December, so the first weekend I rake for the final municipal leaf pick up of the season instead of hanging outside lights.
The Clean up
Hellebore are prepping their blooms for the new year, but some older foliage can detract from the show. Trim back the ragged or blackened leaves.
The rains have softened the ground for digging, so it’s easy to stomp the edger between the beds & lawns.
A few plants, like crocrosmia & calla lily, hold up later than most – – sometimes even past Christmas! But if we get a snowfall, that’s it. They get sheered back when I can find the time. If I cut it back now, the fallen leaves are so easier to rake up around them – – plus the area will be nicely cleared to show off the snowdrops that’ll be blooming soon!
It’s almost shocking to see the blooming Hardy Fuchsia react to a snow flurry. The poor thing withers the moment a flake touches it. But no fear – it’s really only hibernating. Just the same, I trim back the skeleton & dream of the renewed spring growth.
The evergreen Strawberry Tree blooms & bears fruit right up until the snowfall too. When it’s hibernating is the time I like to tidy up any unwieldy branches.
Collect a variety of evergreen trimmings to make wreaths & decorations.
As they go dormant, now’s a good time for serious shaping of deciduous hedges & trees.
Be proactive in pruning out any dead, diseased, or damaged wood before the wicked wind storms bring it down instead.
Once all the leaves are raked & the beds are tidied, I turn to the plants that I’ve nursed in pots in the courtyard since summer. (I knew I wouldn’t have watered them enough if I’d planted them out in the beds when I’d first got them. ) Now that the rains are here, it’s safer to move them to where they belong. They’ll settle in naturally without extra work from me.
Keep those pruners & clippers sharp
It’s best to clean pruners between bushes. Spray with a 10% bleach + water mixture. This helps prevent the spread of diseases through the garden.
Now that mowing is on hold for a couple months, take the opportunity to give the mower a good cleaning before putting it away.
Veg / Berry Patch (& Orchard)
Some tender plants will survive longer if they’re protected under row covers
It’s astonishing how well some vegetables survive in the cool if protected from soggy ground: beets…. carrots… kale… chard… leeks…