Skimmia - best grown in containers in this part of the world

An Uckfield garden in December

There’s a natural reaction at this time of year to stay warm indoors and do your gardening looking through the windows.

However, on dry, bright days it is worth venturing out to do a few jobs, writes the Uckfield News anonymous gardener.

And, when inside, there are still things to ponder.

If you are blessed by having trees next to you, this is the time of year when you think it is a double-edged blessing.

Collecting leaves

These leaves will eventually become leaf mould: just be patient

Most of the leaves are down and will need to be cleared from the garden and patio. You can put them in the brown bin or, if you have room, keep them in plastic sacks for 12 to 24 months, in which time the leaves will become nutritious leaf mould.

In contrast to last year, the leaves are generally dry and crisp this year so some water in the bags won’t go amiss – don’t forget to puncture the bottoms of the bags to allow for some drainage. Then hide them away.

oak trees

In this garden, it is bordered by oak trees (pictured above). The oak is generally the last tree to lose its leaves and looking at this photograph I reckon I could be sweeping up leaves still on New Year’s Day.

We have had quite a frosty spell and you must avoid the temptation to walk on the lawn when frosted. It causes damages and leaves unsightly marks.

Looking good: winter pansies

Looking good: winter pansies

The winter pansies have given a good show but each time you go outside, tidy them up, remove dead or dying flowers and general keep the pot clean. In mild spells pansies will flower through the winter before coming on strong in the spring.

Another fine shrub flowering at the moment is the skimmia, which I keep in a container. There I can keep it the compost it likes (acidic) and give it suitable feeds. Slow-growing skimmias don’t really like the Wealden clay.

Planning for 2017

Indoors, start planning for 2017. Have a look through the seed catalogues to see what takes your fancy. Asked yourself: what worked well, what didn’t?

For me, the challenge will be to keep the summer bedding going right through into September.

Some of mine was great but was over by early August and I had nothing to plug the gaps.

See also:

High Street eye on errant drivers

Council’s call on women’s pensions

Where are the payphones no-one uses in Uckfield?

Town centre expansion news expected in January

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