Many people desert the garden at this time of year, but there are still things to do and things to see. Winter pansies and   violas, (We still have some for sale) give good reliable colour all winter, but there are other plants that can look good in   December.

Mahonia japonica has beautiful yellow flower spikes that start to flower in December. The flowers have a strong lilly-of-the-valley fragrance. Another winter favourite is Jasminum nudiflorum the winter jasmine which is a mass of yellow flowers at this time of year. Also worth a mention is Viburnum tinus a really excellent shrub for winter interest.

VEGETABLES – Cover celery with a loose layer of straw to give protection against frosts. Lift and use parsnips after frosts, the flavour is improved by frost. Pick off dead leaves from winter greens and protect from birds.

FRUIT – Check stored fruit and discard any showing signs of rot. Winter prune fruit trees and bushes. Cover with netting to protect from birds.

FLOWERS – Deadhead winter flowering containers. Plant trees and shrubs when conditions allow. Check all stakes and ties.

GREENHOUSE – Protect plants from frost. Ventilate, except in very cold weather. Prune grape vines.

LAWNS – Lightly mow – only if conditions are right. Scatter any worm casts. Prepare ground for laying lawns in spring. (Turf can be laid whenever the weather is fine).

GENERAL – Spray trees with winter tree wash. Collect leaves for composting. Get the mower serviced. Create ice-free zones in ponds. Continue to dig whenever the weather allows. Above all, now is the time to plan next years gardening. Look through the seed catalogues, gardening books and magazines for ideas and inspiration. Speak to us at the nursery, if you have any thoughts on planting schemes or colour themes. There are lots of new exciting plants being introduced all the time.