Action for December Borders
Jobs that'll give instant results
Remove old leaves from hellebores to prevent leaf-spot disease infecting the new foliage. This will show off the flowers, too.
Pansies and violas
Deadhead winter flowering pansies and violas to encourage more flowers.
Jobs to do now; you'll reap the rewards later
Tie in any splayed branches of conifers especially if snow is forecast – the weight could break them
Plant bulbs and transplant overcrowded seedlings
It’s not too late to plant bulbs of alliums, crown imperial fritillaries, late-flowering daffodils and tulips if you haven’t already done so.
Transplant overcrowded seedlings of hardy cyclamen once they have developed three or four leaves.
Firm in plants
Firm in any plants that have been loosened by wind or frost by pressing into the soil with your hands or feet – newly planted shrubs and trees are the most vulnerable.
Remove straight suckers (shoots growing from below the ground) from twisted hazel.
Snip them off below the soil surface if possible.
Cut back side-shoots of wisteria to two or three buds.
Take care not to remove flower buds that tend to be towards the base of a stem – these are round and fat rather than thin.