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Topical Tips December 2019

December is always a mad, busy month, fortunately your garden will not add to the madness as there are only a few jobs just to keep the garden ticking over. The garden can still look glorious at this time a of year with some strategically positioned winter pots and a few nice winter flowering shrubs. Read on…


Top Tip: If you haven’t planted your spring bulbs yet don’t worry (too much), as we still have a good selection, many at bargain prices but do plant them soon!

Top Tip:   To keep your pots and/or beds looking cheerful we have some colourful winter bedding, pansies and violas are always good vale as they flower for months and only require dead heading to ensure flowering throughout the winter months.

Cyclamen and winter cherries also provide some welcome colour during the winter, don’t forget to under plant with bulbs which are still available is store. If you have a larger pot use an evergreen as a centre piece such as Skimmia or a fern and then place your bedding around it.

Top Tip: Hellebores will be coming into flower shortly, remove and old leaves to show the flowers at their best.



Top Tip: There are a few plants that need pruning this month to avoid the bleeding that can occur if pruned next year. Vines, Birch and Acers all need pruning now.

Gift Tip: Get your favourite gardener a pair of beautiful Felco secateurs, they’re the best you can get, they’re comfortable, sharp ,a pleasure to use and also we keep a full range of spares so that you can keep your secateurs going forever!


Top Tip:  You may think we’re all Christmas at Sunshine when in fact you’d be pleasantly surprised by the number of plants that we have available at the moment that are looking their best:


Viburnum tinus – flower throughout winter

Skimmia rubella – beautiful shiny red berries

Sarcococca – wonderful fragrance

Mahonia- yellow fragrant flowers all winter

Hamamelis – spidery, fragranced flowers, connoisseur’s’ choice.

Hellebores – Christmas roses, a classic (see our plant of the month!)

Cornus – renowned for their colourful winter stems. 

Camellia J.C.Williams, delicate looking blooms that aren’t that delicate

Prunus autumnalis – flowering cherry from autumn to early spring

Top Tip: Pinch out sweet pleas sown earlier in the year.

Top Tip: If you have any plants that need protection over the winter months, now is probably the time to do it, use fleece, which can be bought in a roll or ready made in a hood to slip over the plants.

Top Tip: Have your mower serviced ready tfor spring

Top Tip: Don’t forget to feed the birds with a fat rich food such as suet balls and snacks. We have a large range of bird food and feeders in stock, pay us a visit and keep,the birds happy!

Grow Your Own

Top Tip: Between now and February it’s the time to prune your top fruit, that’s apples and pears. Don’t prune any trained fruit trees just the ones growing in the open garden. 

Click on the link below for a short video on pruning apples:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/videos/advice/Apple-pruning

Top Tip: Lift and divide rhubarb crowns to renew the vigour of the plant(s).

Top rhubarb tip no. 2:  Cover rhubarb with a rhubarb forcer to get an early crop

Top Tip: Apply grease bands now to prevent winter moth caterpillars and other nasties crawling up the trunk of fruit trees.

Top Tip:  Have fleece ready to cover winter leaf salads such as lettuce.

Top Tip:  Protect peaches and nectarines from wet weather with clear polythene; this prevents peach leaf curl, which currently has no chemical control available.

Top Tip:  Apply grease bands to fruit trees to prevent winter moths from climbing up the trunk to lay their eggs.

Top Tip:  Good time to plant raspberry canes!


Top Tip: Plant blueberries this winter for an attractive addition to the fruit garden. With pretty white flowers, delicious berries and fiery autumn foliage, these acid loving plants provide constant interest.

Top Tip: If you fancy growing mushrooms this year we have mushroom kits that come already to go, just place in a warm position, water and within a few days you’ll be harvesting mushrooms, a great present too.