As we move into December it is not all doom and gloom, you can still find many colourful surprises in the winter garden.
Foliage fades, the last of the leaves drop and seed heads take centre stage.
The milder than usual weather has certainly confused many plants and so there has been an abundance of late flowering colour and second flushes. Roses, daisies, osteospermum, antirrhinums, hibiscus, calendula, cosmos and even my zinnias have finally put in an appearance! Better late than never.
There are tremendous amount of stunning shrubs and trees in full flower or berry at the moment. Berries are a great source of food for birds and other wildlife so try to introduce a berry-laden new tree or shrub into your winter garden.
So many shrubs can light up your fading garden with colour and scent. Some of my favourites include: winter jasmine, Solanum laxum 'Album' potato vine, mahonia, Ilex x altaclerensis 'Golden King,' Cotoneaster lacteus, Fatsia japonica, Hylotelephium spectabile formerly known as sedum, Abutilon and the highly scented Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’.
Wind rock prune roses by a third to prevent stems breaking in windy winter weather.
Finish pruning climbing and rambling roses.
Clear away any old or dead plant material in borders. Herbaceous perennials have finally died back. But leave some seed heads for winter interest, they look great in a frost and provide a habitat for wildlife over winter.
Keep ponds leaf free. Add a net if necessary.
Bring hoses indoors (shed or greenhouse) so they do not freeze and split.
Rake up fallen leaves as these provide an ideal winter home for fungal spores. Break the cycle so fungal diseases are not taken up by plant roots. Bag leaves up to make precious leaf mould!