Contrary to popular opinion, there is still plenty to do both outside, inside, and not forgetting the greenhouse at this bleak time of year, with short days and long, sometimes very cold, nights.

In the garden, lift a few of the best of the hardy chrysanthemums in case of a stinging frost. The stools will provide useful cuttings, but wait until the end of the month before taking them.

Label the chrysanthemums, keeping the pinks and reds together and away from the bronze and orange, so labels should be tied to the stool stem.

If there was no opportunity of planting bulbs in October and November, it is worthwhile planting a few tulips or hyacinths for flowering in late spring, but make sure the bulbs are sound.

Inside your house keep your eye on the Indian azalea. Continental plants bought in October are usually pot-bound by now and are thirsty. Once dried out the peat soil is difficult to moisten, and the plant will show its resentment by dropping all its leaves. A soak in the bucket is often beneficial if rainwater is used.

December is a good time to prune any overhanging branches of trees and shrubs, and paint any serious wounds with arbrex. Protect tender shrubs with bracken fastened to and through the branches.

In the greenhouse make sure you have a good supply of horticultural peat for boxing up the last of the chrysanthemums, and general garden work, and see that it is thoroughly moist before being used. It can be left outdoors for this purpose.

Carnations can be increased by cuttings or pipings, which are shoots slipped out of joint, during the next three months. Shoots of 3-4 ins. can be gently tugged away from the stem with a heel attached. Geranium cuttings should be kept on the dry side.

The Author:

Ian SG Smith

Photo. Audrey


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