There is barely anything left in the flower border except Winter Jasmine, but you are unlikely to see a bee or butterfly abroad this month. The birds, mammals and insects are now foraging for food taking seeds and berries where they find them. If permitted hang up a fat-ball or peanut feeder and enjoy the spectacle of birds snacking on them. A large sunflower head hung up will feed many tits for quite some time.
- Continue digging when the weather permits, with your friendly Robin by your side grabbing grubs as you unearth them.
- You can coppice willow and hazel between now and February, saving the stems for basket weaving or pea-sticks or herbaceous-perennial supports. If you can spare one or two spray them silver or white and use them as part of your festive decorations
- Fit water butts to catch winter rain from the rooves of sheds, greenhouses, garages, conservatories and your home. An 8 foot by 6 foot shed will yield a harvest of 10 x 210 litre water butts during the winter. Harvest the water now and have it on tap when you need it.
- Plant bare-rooted fruit trees and fruit bushes if you haven’t already.
- Prune back over hanging branches that are in the way and add to the log pile.
- Wrap up tender fruiting trees like Olives
- Winter prune apple, pear and plums trees (until the end of January)
- Check tree ties and stakes aren’t chaffing the bark ready for the winter winds.
- Keep dead heading, only joking, it is only the autumn heathers that need dead heading this month.
- Go for a walk and gather cones and branches and spray them to make festive decorations.
Vegetables and Fruit
- Harvest sprouts starting from the bottom.
- Prune Gooseberry side-shoots back to about 5 cms.
- It is traditional to plant garlic on Christmas Day before dinner.
- Harvest the new potatoes from the potato grow bags planted in September/ October in the greenhouse.
- Sharpen tools, wash pots, clean canes and tidy up.
- Settle down with the seed catalogue and check your list again.
- Relax and enjoy Christmas and New Year.