Guest post by Erin aka @hortihunny
Tis the season!
I absolutely LOVE December. The twinkly lights, Michael Bublé and cherished times with our nearest and dearest are some of the highlights. But my favorite thing is the crafting in the run up to Christmas! Home made mince pies, fresh green wreaths and preparing Christmas gifts makes me happy and I try to link these closely with my gardening where possible.
- Wreath Making
Every year I get together with the family and create a wreath from scratch. We forage our gardens and local area (remember to do this responsibly and ensure you’re leaving enough for the wildlife). It’s amazing how far a sprig or two of holly and ivy can go. It’s also a great way to prune your bushes and hedges in your garden and use the waste! There are so many videos online to help you so why not give it a go?! If a wreath seems a bit ambitious, get your little ones outside and use some treasures from the garden to make pictures.
- Growing and Harvesting
Some people like to let everything die back in the colder months and others like to keep growing all year round. There’s no right way! If you want to add some colour to brighten up those dreich winter days, pansies, violas, cyclamen and heather are ideal for winter beds/containers. If you’ve grown veg, December is the ideal time to harvest brussels sprouts, kale, parsnips, leeks and winter cabbages. You might find that with the mild autumn we’ve had, some vegetables and flowers are producing flowers/veg earlier than normal. Our purple sprouting broccoli is currently producing heads (this should usually happen in spring and we have one that is taller than my dad!
Remember the chutneys and jams I was making in autumn? I like to give these as Christmas gifts to my family and friends. Simple, made with love and the perfect accompaniment to the Christmas cheese board! The seeds I harvested from my flowers is another gift I’m giving this year. Practical gifts that people can use. Other Horti gifts include bulb lasagnas or hyacinth and amaryllis bulbs planted in a nice pot or upcycled container. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, perhaps you’re not a crafter or are too busy this year… we are so lucky to be surrounded by small businesses to support. How about a little something from the Caledonian Horticulture shop?!
- Weather Proofing
December can be a cool month and we’ve had some wild weather recently! It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast and secure anything that might blow over in high winds. Wrap up pots or plants with bubble wrap for extra insulation and keep an eye on the plants you brought into the greenhouse. It’s also worth cutting your water supply to outside taps in very cold weather to avoid pipes freezing and bursting.
- Planning Ahead
It’s the perfect time to coorie in with a notebook and plant catalogue and think ahead to next year. I find that writing down my ideas helps me to feel organised in the year ahead for all my gardening jobs. It helps me to know when to sow seeds, what I can sow directly and it’s also worth thinking about where to plant your vegetables to ensure crop rotation. Take stock of which seeds/plants you have to use up old stock and see if you can do any seed swaps. This helps me to feel organised and helps me know what to do when (which can be overwhelming if you’re a gardening newbie!)
- Bird Feeders
Remember to put out some bird feed to welcome winter birds into your garden. Try to put it somewhere with a little cover for the birdies so they can find food on miserable, wet days. Also be mindful of predators and where you locate your feeder – they have a habit of being messy feeders and seeds may fall from your feeding station to the ground below.