Greenfingers - December 2017

There are rather fewer tasks in the garden during December, once the dahlias and chrysanthemums have been dug up and stored, old perennials’ stalks cut back and tidied, open grown apples and pears, and acers, birches and vines, wisteria, red and white currants and gooseberries have been pruned, the lawn and borders cleared of leaves, vegetable patches emptied, and a generous mulch from the compost heap applied. This allows time during the wet and windy days and long dark evenings to clean and service garden tools, and contemplate the possibility of new equipment – given that Christmas is not far off.

SquirrelAnd if time permits, and it’s not too wet or frosty, winter is a good time to plant bare rooted trees and shrubs, and to think - and maybe do something about - the structure of the garden.

But the long evenings are more likely to be spent in front of a fire with a seed catalogue and a dram. Seed packets fit neatly into fill-your-own crackers and make an interesting and challenging gift, reminding us of Spring and warmer days.

There’s also still time to plant tulip bulbs, and don’t forget to check the Christmas flowering bulbs in their dark and cool cupboard or box. The crab apples have been visited by a mistle thrush and many red admiral butterflies. I can only assume that the alcohol in the fermenting apples does not affect the metabolism of insects in the same way that it affects warm blooded animals.

December’s night sky will see the full moon at perigee on 3rd, so it will appear larger than normal, and the Geminids meteor shower will peak around the night of 13th and early hours of 14th when the waning moon will have minimal influence on the viewing. It would be appreciated if security lights could be of lower wattage and pointed downwards to avoid polluting the night sky, especially along the Cirencester Road.