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Topical Tips December 2018

December is a fairly quiet month in the garden, the days are short and you may only get a fleeting glimpse of the garden at the weekend before darkness draws in again. We can have some beautiful, clear frosty mornings, which provide a silvery tinged landscape, which soon vanishes into the cool winter air.

Whether you are schlepping to the west end or shopping locally  for your presents don’t forget we have more than just fantastic Christmas trees; we have a great selection of gifts for gardeners and non-gardeners so have a look around when you come in for your tree!

Shrubs & Flowers



Top Tip:  We still have the best selection of bulbs in London, many at bargain prices if you haven’t planted any yet or just fancy a top up come and see what’s available, the bulbs will still flower in this spring when planted now.

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

TopTip:  Hellebores are starting to flower now, cut back the leaves so that the nodding flowers can be seen 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.


Top Tip:  Cut back Buddleia and roses to avoid them being damaged by wind rock.

Top Tip:  Although we are up to our necks in Christmas trees at the moment we never forget about the plants that we have for 365 days a year; we still have a good selection of winter plants, so take a look at the list below or even better take at look at the plants at Sunshine.

Viburnum tinus – flower throughout winter
Skimmia rubella – beautiful shiny red berries
Sarcococca – wonderful fragrance
Mahonia- yellow  fragrant flowers all winter
Hamamelis – spidery, fragranced flowers, connoisseurs choice.
Hellebores – Chritmas roses , a classic (see our plant of the month!)
Camellia J.C.Williams, delicate looking blooms that aren’t that delicate
Prunus autumnalis – flowering cherry from autumn to early spring


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.

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:


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.



Don’t forget the birds at Christmas

 At this time of year food for birds is becoming scarcer, fat rich food is particularly good such as suet balls or treats.