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10 gardening tips for December

Magazine

There is always something to do in the garden. Find out what you should be looking out for in December below.

GARDENA tips for your garden

Remove algae from surfaces: For a while now, December has not just been about frosty days. Mild winter days are great for cleaning green algae from paths, stone and wood surfaces using a steam cleaner. Doing so is all the more important given that this slippery green growth stays wet throughout the winter season, making it an unpleasant slipping hazard and a real danger in the garden!

Pick ice flowers: Ice flowers have become a rare sight and are in danger of dying out completely - they could soon be just the frost patterns on window panes of the past. This is because the introduction of double glazing means that frozen water vapour no longer freezes on window panes. As a result, these bizarre ice formations are disappearing when they used to evoke wonder and amazement wherever they were found. If you do manage to find some, perhaps on the single glazing of your garden shed, make the most of it and enjoy a thick bouquet of ice flowers!

Set up a bird feeder: You can now feed garden birds all year round - this is an experience and a joy for the family, and an important means of survival for your feathered garden guests. If you don't already have a bird feeder in your green space, why not set one up now? Birds will need about one or two weeks to discover the new feeding station, which is why it is a good idea to set it up as soon as you can. You will then need to refill it consistently because the animals will come to rely on their feeding station. Tip: Use shell-free feed so that you have less mess to sweep up...

Prepare your garden tools for winter: December is the time to get all your garden tools out again. Thoroughly clean off any pieces of dirt. Once dry, treat all unpainted metal parts with a thin film of maintenance oil using an old cloth. The protective layer prevents the otherwise unprotected metal from rusting.

Look after your container plants: Around every fourteen days, cast a critical eye over the garden treasures in your container plants area. Remove any fallen leaves because they can encourage the development of fungal diseases such as botrytis (grey mould). Make sure that evergreens do not dry out: If necessary, give them a small amount of water - but only enough to prevent the plants from drying out. Pay attention to two things: Firstly, make sure that frost-sensitive plants are not exposed to temperatures below zero degrees (use a frost buster greenhouse heater). Secondly, ensure that the overwintering temperature for your plants is not exceeded (ventilate as necessary).

Hang up some mistletoe: This is a nice British tradition; hang up a sprig of mistletoe adorned with a pretty bow. However: Do not pick wild mistletoe yourself as it is a protected plant. You should only purchase mistletoe from authorised retailers, which is just one more reason to have another stroll through the Christmas display at your local garden centre.

Do not walk on your lawn: Do not walk across your lawn if it is covered with snow or frost as any blades of grass that you tread on may die. In the spring you will then see brown footprints everywhere that someone walked across the lawn.

Order your seeds: The Christmas and new year period offers some quality time for relaxing. The end of the calendar year also makes us look ahead to the coming season. Statistically, most online customers order their seeds on the days after Christmas. Why not browse through the new seed catalogues when you find yourself with some time on your hands?

Choose your Christmas tree: Nordmann fir, Blue Spruce, pine, or Douglas fir - which is best? Clearly beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a general rule, firs are easy to handle because they lose hardly any of their needles and the needles do not prick you. Douglas firs are pretty but they have weak branches that can bend under the weight of the decorations. Anyone who wants to fill their living room with a real Christmas tree scent should choose the humble Norway spruce. Your heart will be charmed by the wonderful Christmas scent - especially if you decorate it with real candles.

Express your Christmas wishes: "What do you want for Christmas?" - it's the same question every year. According to statistics, the most popular Christmas gifts in Germany in 2016 were books, toys, clothing, gift vouchers, cosmetics and food/Drinks - in that order. For the more green-fingered among you, how about adding all this to your Christmas list: gardening books, gardening equipment to try out, stylish garden clothing, garden centre or GARDENA vouchers, a crate of red wine to enjoy as you chat late into the night on warm summer evenings next year...?

© Andreas Blakkolb / Fotolia.com