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December in the garden

Friday, 30 November 2018  |  Alison

***Christmas is coming we have just launched a fabulous new range of gifts for gardeners and non-gardeners.  Have a browse through our online catalogue now for some great ideas this Christmas*** www.brooksidenursery.co.uk

December in the garden

Not every gardener has time to get into the garden during December, especially when Christmas is just around the corner and there are numerous other interruptions to take our attention, not to mention all the tasty mince pies on offer. But just a short time in the garden every day can be hugely useful as well as satisfying.

Although temperatures and light levels are much lower in December, there should be plenty of fine days too and the health benefits of fresh air are so important to our well-being. Even a walk around the garden can lift the spirits, so pop on a thick jumper, a hat and a scarf and get out there.

Always take a pair of secateurs with you as you are bound to notice something that needs tweaking.

Here are the Brookside Nursery Top Ten Tips for the garden in December

  • If you want to try and over winter garden pot plants, insulate them by wrapping thick horticultural bubble wrap around each pot. Raising pots onto pot feet will keep air circulating around the plant and help with any drainage too, ensuring roots don’t become waterlogged.
  • With the colder weather comes the increased risk of high winds so securely stake any Brussels sprouts stems to stop the roots becoming loose in the soil. They can become very top-heavy once laden with sprouts too and any gaping holes at the base of the plants can become frost pockets and once frozen can irreparably damage the plant. Check plants regularly and firm down if necessary.
  • A warming outdoor  job to do in December is to dig over any area of ground that needs either clearing in the borders to make way for new plants or is being prepared for next year’s crops in the vegetable garden.

  • There is still time to plants sets of onions and garlic outside, although it is best to get them in this side of Christmas if possible.  Pigeons and other birds love to peck at these so cover the area with some netting (pulled taut) to stop this happening.
  • Rake up the last of the leaves from autumn, especially on paths, as they can become very slippery once they start to rot down. 

autumn leaves

  • A stiff brush used with some diluted Jeyes fluid can help to remove any mossy growth and algae on pathways and decking so if you haven’t already done this job, put it to the top of your list. A broken limb is not advisable for a busy gardener! 
  • Remove any decaying or dead top growth from summer flowering perennial plants as this will help to any stop fungal diseases. Mulch the plants around the crowns to protect them from frost.
  • Last year we had a snowy few days in early December, so be prepared. Buy a cheap indoor broom that you can use in the garden to remove any snowfall on branches of evergreens and deciduous shrubs.  The heavy weight of prolonged snow can cause branches to snap.
  • Houseplants still need care in the winter months. Central heating on all the time can mean that plants need to be watered more regularly, but do not overwater. Get to know your houseplants - A good way to check if your plant needs water is to lift it up and if it feels lighter than usual it needs a drink.
  • Whilst you can see the bare bones of the garden in winter, it is an ideal time to look at the hard landscaping and make a note of how this may be improved in certain areas. Maybe a new tree or shrub to cover an unsightly spot or maybe overhanging branches need a good prune back to allow more light into the garden.

Make time to walk around your garden and pick a few twigs with berries or variegated foliage, even seed heads and put them in a vase to enjoy a bit of the garden inside.

Don’t forget that our new range of summer 2019 bedding and hanging basket plants, bare root perennials and vegetables are now available to pre-order online at www.brooksidenursery.co.uk

Happy gardening and Merry Christmas to all of you in gardening land!

Alison

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018  |  Alison
Survival tips for houseplants at Christmas

Christmas Cactus, Poinsettias, Gardenias, Cyclamen, Azaleas and Orchids (Phalaenopsis & Cymbidiums) are some of the best known houseplants given to friends and family during the Christmas season, and they are all too often left to their own devices as the festivities take over, so I have put together some survival tips below for you to take help you take care of your houseplants.

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Monday, 19 November 2018  |  Alison
The Jagiellonian University Botanic Garden in Kraków

I visited this fascinating garden whilst on a recent trip to Kraków in Poland and really didn’t know what to expect but as soon as I went through the unassuming side entrance, I realised that I would need at least a full day there just to soak up the history of the place and gaze at all the array of plants and trees….

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Thursday, 1 November 2018  |  Alison
Kraków, Poland….. Auschwitz-Birkenau and its gardening connections

Organising a city break for two, who have differing interests, can be downright tricky, so when Kraków was mentioned recently and discovering there was a sizeable botanical garden to explore, I was keen.

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