We had the darkest day of the year on 21st December, with daylight lasting for just a few hours.
This winter solstice marks the moment the sun shines at its most southern point and has been celebrated by pagans for thousands of years.
Many of the traditions now associated with Christmas had their roots in winter solstice celebrations - including the Christmas tree.
The world might look pretty grim now, but remember: longer and sunnier days will soon be on their way.
It’s been so mild and wet this month, with very few bright, crisp December days, and it's definitely not enticing to get out and have a garden sort out.
This blackbird is enjoying the fruits at RHS Harlow Carr.
In My Garden
A glimpse of sunshine
The goose is happy in her snug corner..........
In Your Garden
Not only will your garden appreciate such efforts before the spring is upon us, but you too may enjoy burning off some excess indulgencies during the festivities!
So what can be done in December in your garden? There is plenty to choose from here.
Erect some sort of screening to protect newly planted evergreens against wind scorch. This is particularly important for conifers, as once these are damaged they will not re grow from the deadwood.
Renovation of deciduous shrubs and trees. Take advantage of your trees and shrubs losing their leaves, as there will be much less mess to clear up after the work is complete and it will be easier to work out what needs to be cut out when you just have a framework to deal with. Start by cutting out dead, diseased, dying or damaged wood.
If you plan on introducing some new planting into your garden this is the perfect time to plant bare-root trees, shrubs, hedging and roses.
As long as the ground isn’t too frozen or waterlogged, now would be a good time to move any trees or shrubs that need re positioning. At this time of year trees and shrubs are not actively growing so should respond well to being lifted.
If you feel that you need a spell of physical activity to warm you up, rake up fallen leaves from the lawn or soil surface. No matter how well you think you did this job in the autumn, there will be plenty more which have accumulated. Keep the leaf matter to make leaf mould provided the leaves are not diseased.
Whilst tidying up the garden it would be worth while taking the opportunity to have a pest and disease hunt. You will not see much activity, but you may well find pests such as hibernating snails which can be easily rounded up now and dealt with. A good winter sort out will help to keep problems down in the spring and summer months.
This is a great time to get out digging and incorporating manure into your beds, borders and vegetable gardens. Avoid doing this task if the ground is frozen or waterlogged.
If we are lucky enough to experience some snow, once you have taken the photos of its beauty, knock off any heavy snowfall on branches of trees and shrubs, which, if left, could cause damage.
Lawn care in December is an easy task…. keep off the surface of your lawn if it is very wet or frosty! Generally, it is best to leave the lawn alone until the temperatures warm up in the Spring.
And it will…………