The December Garden Club meeting is back in the Church Hall at 7.30pm. Our speaker is Paul Davis the Garden Warrior. Described as the Jamie Oliver of gardening. Known for his approachable, fun and ‘can do’ manner, Paul has led teams across many celebrity gardens and over last 30 years Paul has worked on some of the countries leading gardens.

Paul has had his own mental health problems and is now making a TV series on gardening and the effects it has on your mood – With the current pressures of day to day living, gardening is known for relieving mental stress in people’s lives.
The Garden Warrior will inspire you to get outside to enjoy your garden and how planning through the year will allow you to reap the rewards beyond the most popular and warm summer months. Pauls unique and easy humour has helped him along the way, so it should be an entertaining evening.
Refreshments and mulled wine will also be available to make the evening a Christmas celebration. Visitors are very welcome to the evening at £5 per person. Visitors are requested to register beforehand with Jenny Bearcroft, so that we can estimate numbers. Those new to gardening are also very welcome to come along to this or any other meeting to pick up some tips, either from our experts or there are lots of members within the club who are more than happy to give you some useful hints and tips no matter how big or small your plot or your level of experience.

As I write this we are going through a very wet and windy patch of weather, I’m not complaining after the dry summer, but it does mean work in the garden is limited. I have however taken the opportunity to spruce up the green house and tuck up the more tender plants for the winter. Thankfully with some rain everything is green again now and much seems to have recovered. The mild weather until now has meant that everything has kept growing so I have managed to plant some more shrubs to establish over the winter before another possible drought next summer.

Although it may not be as easy to get out into the garden over the next couple of months it is possible to bring the garden in, especially over Christmas. Apart from the usual Spruce, Holly, and Ivy many other shrubs can be put into arrangements like Eucalyptus, Hebe, Osmanthus and Sarococca which will all last well indoors. Or brighten the place with some bulbs in an attractive container. Almost anything can be utilised that will hold compost. Personally I love an amaryllis around Christmas which I grow suspended over water like a hyacinth bulb, as something more unusual.

Cyclamen and Poinsettia are also a must for a splash of colour and now come in an ever-expanding range. Native to Mexico, poinsettias can be tricky to keep alive after Christmas and whilst most are thrown away after the bracts have faded, they can be kept alive longer and even encouraged to produce bracts for the following Christmas, by giving them the right conditions. Grow them in bright, indirect light, not too hot, and most importantly in a draught-free spot. Water sparingly, when the surface of the compost has started to dry out, but mist regularly to increase humidity and keep the colourful bracts looking at their best for longer. After Christmas, feed monthly with a high potash liquid feed, such as a tomato feed.

Some of us will also undoubtably be bringing the inside out too with decorations and lights in our gardens. I love to walk around the village and look at them all including the tree on the green. It makes us look at our trees and shrubs a little differently for a while. Kirton always looks so festive, so thanks to everyone.

There are some jobs still to be done in the garden weather permitting:

  • Rake up fallen leaves in borders that could be harbouring slugs and other pests
  • Pile straw around the base of tender shrubs and clumbers to protect them from frost.
  • Hang bird feeders near roses to attract hungry birds that will also then pick off any overwintering pests
  • Hard prune overgrown shrubs whilst they are dormant and prune climbing roses between now and February.

On the allotment

  • Keep picking Brussels sprouts to ensure they don’t blow open.
  • If a prolonged cold or wet spell is forecast you can lift leeks and parsnips and store them in containers of old compost or soil
  • Make some time to look through the seed catalogue and submit your order through the Garden Club.

So finally, as the year comes to an end take a bit of time to reflect on your successes in the garden and to consider what went wrong. I’ve planted trees, shrubs and bulbs, but realised some types of plants however much I want them don’t work, so I need to adapt. Lastly always remember there are no failures in gardening only challenges, and its usually down to the weather, furry things or if all else fails blame fate. Allow yourself a little relaxing time around the new year and be ready to hit the ground running next season.
See you then for more gardening tales.


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