44th Cerne Abbas Open Gardens 20 & 21 June 2020, 2-6pm
www.cerneabbasopengardens.org.uk Second Site by Bob Foulser
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Queries number
01300 341311

Tasks in December

Flower garden

In poor weather, sit in an armchair with a festive drink and think of Spring.
Cut down faded herbaceous perennials and add these to the compost heap, though penstemons should be left with some top growth. Clear supports.
Divide and replant herbaceous perennials.
Untidy hellebore foliage can be cut back to show off blooms. Also protect blooms from splashing.
Final leaf fall means the garden can finally be tidied and the debris put in the compost bin.
Mulch alpines and herbs with gritty compost to protect from damp and encourage new growth.
Sow alpine seed which need frost to germinate.
Apply a mulch to protect plants that are borderline hardy such as Agapanthus, Kniphofia and Phygelius.
Move tender plants inside or to sheltered positions.
Wrap precious containers in bubble wrap to prevent damage by frosts.
Raise outside containers off the ground to avoid them sitting in the wet.
Look out for fungal infection and teat with fungicide.

Trees and shrubs

Most deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can be pruned throughout the dormant season.
Silver birches and maples need pruning early to avoid sap bleeding.
However avoid pruning tender plants such as ornamentak cherries, plums and almonds. Also leave evergreens until spring.
Lightly prune bush roses to reduce their height to prevent wind-rock. Ditto Buddleja davidii, Cornus alba and Lavatera which ca be pruned hard in spring.
It is an ideal time to plant new roses.
Plant bare-root deciduous hedging plants, trees and shrubs. Larger specimens need to be containerised.
Trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable positions may be transplanted now.
Protect newly planted specimens from wind and cold.
Tie wall shrubs and climbers onto their supports to protect them from wind damage. Prune off unwanted shoots.
Check tree stakes and ties are secure but not strangling trunks or branches.
If there is snow brush it off the branches of vulnerable topiary and conifers.
Take hardwood cuttings of Berberis, Buddleja, Salix, Forsythia and Rubus


Rake fallen leaves off lawns before they block out light and moisture from the grass.
Grass will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F), so if the weather remains mild it may be necessary to trim the lawn with a mower with a cut height of about 1.5 in.
Avoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings, it can damage the grass and result in brown footprints.
Lawn edges should be repaired now using turf.