Garden Chores for December

It’s hard to believe we have already hit December (is it just me, or does Pandemic Time seem to move faster?). This is one of the quietest months in the garden, but there are still a few things to keep plant people busy. Here are five garden chores for December:

amaryllis bulb with red bloom

Plant an amaryllis bulb now for blooms in January.

Set out some holiday greenery. If you have not already, consider putting out a pot of greens, pine cones, red twig dogwood or whatever else suits your fancy to add a little cheer to the neighborhood. Short on funds: Try scavenging from your yard for greens and dried flowers. Short on time: Our Discount Partners create stunning holiday containers, windowboxes and more. Contact one near you for a beautiful porch pot. While you are at it, how about buying a poinsettia or a big, beautiful amaryllis to bloom around the New Year.

Buy seeds. Wait a minute! Isn’t this a January chore? Usually, that’s when we suggest people buy their seeds for the next garden season. But, this year, we are hearing some rumbling in the green industry that there may be a shortage of seeds again. (This happened in March/April 2020.) So, if you have a particular tomato you love to grow or an annual that is tops on your list, consider buying your seeds a bit earlier than usual and adding seed buying to your garden chores for December.

Design basics image

Photo credit: Istockphotograpy

Plan next year’s garden. We don’t have a lot of snow at the moment, so take some time and walk around your yard thinking about what you want to do next year. Take a few measurements and photos, if your renovation plans are big. This is a great time for dreaming, and if you have big ideas and aren’t sure how to implement them, consider taking the Landscape Design Basics for Homeowners class that MSHS is offering in January ( you can sign up now). This class is taught by Julie Weisenhorn and Jim Calkins, two U of M pros, and covers all you need to know about creating a sustainable design. You’ll even have a chance to get feedback on your own design for a deck, front entry or other small garden space.

Keep an eye on your houseplants. With the heat blazing and dry house air abundant, your houseplants may feelcover of cut flower garden stressed. Don’t overdo the watering and avoid fertilizing most houseplants in winter, but check the leaves and branches for signs of scale, mites or other pests and diseases. If you spot something suspicious, put the plant in quarantine (we all know about that, right?), and research the best methods for dealing with the pest or disease. This university website has lots of information on houseplant diseases and pests. Tending to houseplants will be one of your most important garden chores for December and the rest of winter.

Stock up on your winter garden reading. It could be a long winter, so now is a great time to stock up on some books to enjoy during the down time. A few of our recent favorites are Uprooted by Paige Dickey, Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy, Floret Farm’s The Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein and Gardening Your Front Yard by Tara Nolan.


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