Episode 21: Gardening Jobs and Plants of Interest for December

Episode 21: Gardening Jobs and Plants of Interest for December

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File Size: 11.0 MB, Duration: 23' 40"

In this month’s edition of the podcast we look at seasonal gardening jobs to do in the garden during the month of December and a selection of plants that look good in the garden at this time of year.

Review of the Year's Podcasts - 01' 11"

As the last episode of the year, we take the opportunity to re-cap on the previous podcast episodes through the year, highlighting some of the plants we discussed and people we talked to in the podcasts.

Plant of the Month - 10' 23"

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ – Silk Tassel BushOur plant of the month for December is Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' – Silk Tassel Bush.

  • The genus of this plant takes its name from Mr Garry, who was a trusted assistant of the plant collector Douglas
  • Frost hardy, evergreen shrub
    • Not fully hardy but will cope with a frost (H4 RHS scale -10°C), so think about this when planting and give it some protection if you can by it planting against a wall or amongst other shrubs if you’re in a colder part of the country
  • This shrub produces interesting flowers when many other plants are beginning their winter dormancy, flowering from December through to February. The silvery flowers are catkin-like and very long, up to 20cm in length and hang down amongst the evergreen, holly-like dark glossy foliage.
  • Likes full sun or partial shade
  • Height up to 4m, spread 4m
  • Average growth rate, 10-20 years to maturity
  • Soil: Grows in most soils providing they are well drained
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • Maintenance: Prune in early spring
  • Generally pest free, but may be affected by leaf spot

Jobs in the Garden - 12' 32"

  • Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrimaCare for your Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
    • Everyone loves to see the stunning foliage of a Poinsettia at Christmas time, but to ensure that your Poinsettia has a stress free Christmas, keep it in a room that is neither too hot nor too cold; about 16°C (60°F) is perfect.
    • Try to let the Poinsettia get as much sunlight as possible, and allow the compost to dry out between waterings and mist regularly to maintain high air humidity around the plant
  • Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera bridgesiiCare for your Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera bridgesii
    • Whilst your Christmas Cactus is flowering, water it a little more than you would at other times of the year. As with the poinsettia, a room temperature of about 16°C (60°F) is fine.
    • If you want a Christmas Cactus to flower year after year, put it outside during the summer months in a shady location.
  • Garden furniture, pergolas, trellis and archways can be painted with wood preservative
  • Cover borderline hardy perennials with a protective mulch of compost
  • Horticultural fleece can be used to protect larger tender plants
  • If heavy snow falls, shake it off the branches of trees and shrubs to prevent them snapping under the weight
  • Fruit tree pruning
  • Stop the water supply to outside taps and lag to protect against frost damage

In the Vegetable Garden - 15' 13"

  • Plant out: Rhubarb crowns
  • Harvest: Spinach, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Lettuce, Leeks and Kale

Plants of Note - 15' 52"

Two plants that we felt were worthy of note for this month are:

Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' - Winter Honeysuckle

  • Fully hardy deciduous shrub (RHS H5 -15°C)
  • Average growth rate, 10-20 years to maturity
  • 2m tall, 2.5m spread
  • Full sun or Partial shade
  • Soil: moist but well-drained, humus-rich, soil
  • Flowers:
    • Strong sweet fragrance – plant by a path
    • Clusters of small (15mm wide) cream flowers with yellow anthers, on the bare branches in winter and early spring, December to March
  • Foliage: bright green, ovate leaves
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • RHS Perfect for Pollinators
  • Maintenance: In late spring cut back a third of the flowering shoots and mulch generously
  • Can be susceptible to aphids and powdery mildew

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' - Dogwood

  • The latin Cornus means ‘horn’, in this case referring to the hard nature of the wood
  • Fully hardy deciduous shrub
  • Fast growing
  • 1.5m tall, 0.8m spread
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: any moderately fertile soil
  • Flowers: small, creamy-white flowers in May and June
  • Foliage: oval, mid-green leaves; orange-yellow in autumn
  • Flame-coloured stems in winter
  • Maintenance: To achieve the best stem colour (on new growth), every year in spring cut the stems hard back to about 5-7cm from the ground and mulch the base

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