What to do in the garden in December:
Clear, frosty days make you glad to be alive, and the garden has a lovely, pared-down beauty at this time of year. Get outside and discover a winter paradise with our jobs to do this month.
Rejuvenate overgrown deciduous hedges cutting back about 30cm lower than the height you want to allow for new growth.
Tread in frost-loosened roots as the wind and frozen ground can lift and damage them.
Water cyclamen from below as the corms are vulnerable to rotting, standing the plant in a saucer of water to soak up moisture.
Sow bedding such as pelargoniums, petunias and lobelia from seed in a heated propagator (you'll find seed and propagators for sale in our garden centre).
Protect emerging buds of Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) with cloches, as despite the name, they can be vulnerable to frost damage.
Prune grapevines, cutting back the side shoots to one good bud and trimming back the main stem by a third.
Force Witloof chicory: dig up roots and cut tops back to 2.5cm, then pot up in damp sand and keep in the dark for tender 'chicons'.
Remove cankered branches from fruit trees, cutting back into healthy wood and burning the prunings.