Gardening tasks for December

As the crisp air of December sets in, gardeners might find themselves bundled up more often, yet there’s still plenty to do in the garden. This is the time for maintenance, preparation, and ensuring both plants and wildlife make it through the colder months. Let’s explore some essential December gardening jobs.

1. Harvesting Berried Winter Shrubs

December is the perfect time to cut stems of berried winter shrubs. Not only do these provide a festive touch to indoor decorations, but pruning also encourages new growth. Species like Holly, Pyracantha, and Skimmia are ideal for this. While harvesting, be mindful not to over-prune as these berries are also a vital food source for birds.

2. Raking Up Leaves

Fallen leaves can smother grass and smaller plants, so raking them up is crucial. However, instead of discarding these leaves, consider creating a leaf mold. Simply pile the leaves in a corner of the garden or in a bin bag with holes. Over time, they’ll decompose into a rich, organic mulch, perfect for conditioning the soil next year.

3. Protecting Pots from Frost

Frost can be the bane of terracotta or ceramic pots. To prevent them from cracking, wrap them in bubble wrap or hessian. Additionally, raise them off the ground using pot feet or bricks. This not only prevents waterlogging but also ensures better drainage, reducing the risk of frost damage to the roots of the plants within.

4. Pruning Shrubs and Hedges

With many shrubs and hedges dormant in December, it’s an ideal time for pruning. This helps maintain their shape and encourages healthy growth in spring. Remember to use sharp, clean tools to make clean cuts, which are less traumatic for the plants and reduce the risk of disease.

5. Hanging Bird Feeders

Birds struggle to find food during winter, so hanging bird feeders is not only a kind gesture but also a delightful way to attract wildlife to your garden. Consider a variety of feeders and seeds, as different species have different preferences. Remember to regularly clean the feeders to prevent the spread of disease among the bird population.
While the garden slows down in December, the gardener does not. This month is about preparation, protection, and ensuring the ongoing health of your garden. By attending to these tasks, you’re not only caring for your current plants and wildlife but also setting the stage for a flourishing garden in the upcoming year. Why not share your gardening tips or garden photos with the Flyer email

For more gardening tips for Essex, Hertford and Suffolk, visit