As we get to the end of the year, there are not too many urgent jobs left in the garden; however, there are some essential tasks that need to be addressed.
First of all, check the protection you have provided for sensitive plants such as figs. If you have a greenhouse, ensure that the heating system is operating well.
Once you are happy with this, there is plenty of advice about how you can keep busy in your garden in December from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Tree pruning is top of the list, especially fruit trees such as apples and pears; however, if you are training them against a wall, leave these trees to their own devices. Stoned fruits such as cherries should be left alone and pruned in summer, thereby avoiding exposing them to the threat of fungus.
You can still plant deciduous shrubs and trees or transplant them. If you have gaps in your privet, you will find small plants available at this time of year to plant into the spaces and wait for them to grow in the spring. You can also experiment with some hardwood cuttings.
If you have a rhubarb patch, now is the time to lift and split the crowns to encourage growth and healthier sticks. Take sections from the outside rather than the centre for the best results. You can also experiment with some hardwood cuttings.
In the flower garden, prune your climbing roses and any wisteria, acers and vines. A common mistake is to deadhead the faded hydrangea blooms; instead, you should leave these on, as they will protect against frost.
If you have young children, you might like to consider dragging them away from their screens indoors and introduce them to the garden by bringing in wooden climbing frames from suppliers such as https://www.niclimbingframes.com/childrens-wooden-climbing-frames. Once you have lured them outside, you may be able to get a few willing helpers and introduce them to the delights of the garden.
Some of the jobs small hands can help with are gathering up the leaves that have fallen, especially around your roses to reduce the risk of blackspot infection next year. They can also help to move container pots to sheltered positions ready for the winter.
There is plenty to do before starting to plan next year’s garden.