There are always things to do in the garden in December. These simple gardening tasks will offer some calm and relief amid the busyness of the festive season. They are also a great way to get some fresh air and exercise to burn off those Christmas calories!

Things to do in the garden in December

Tidy up winter containers Keep an eye on plants in winter containers during wet spells, to make sure they don’t get flooded. If conditions remain dry, water regularly but always give the compost a chance to dry out after each watering. Keep an eye out for yellowing or diseased leaves. Pick them off promptly and bin them.


Start a garlic crop Plant individual cloves of Garlic varieties such as ‘Solent Wight’, ‘Tuscany Wight’ and ‘Lautrec Wight’ into free-draining soil. Snip off any wispy ends so birds don’t tug the cloves from the soil. They will be ready to harvest when the leaves start to die off and turn yellow. This usually happens in June or July.

Tidy old perennials Cut back perennials that have turned to mush and don’t offer anything in the way of prettiness or food for the birds. Cut back the decaying material, chop it into small amounts and add it to the compost heap.


Begin sowing sweet peas Sow sweet peas and keep them in a cool, unheated place. An unheated greenhouse or conservatory will be perfect. Sow the seeds in deep pots or root-trainers filled with multi-purpose compost and keep the pots in a propagator or cover them with a clear plastic bag. Once seeds have germinated, remove the covering.

Plant fruit bushes If the soil isn’t frozen, plant bare-root fruit bushes such as gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries. Dig a hole that can comfortably take the plants roots without them having to be squashed. Make sure you label the plants after planting, so you know which varieties you are growing.