South Holland gardens in December

Poinsettia, one of the lovely Christmas-flowering houseplants.
Poinsettia, one of the lovely Christmas-flowering houseplants.

It’s cold outside and the last thing you want to do is to work in the garden.

Luckily, there isn’t a great deal to do, other than keeping an eye on winter protection, some pruning, and, if you have a greenhouse, making sure the heater works.

However, the Royal Horticultural Society has ten top tips for jobs to do in December.

The first is to check that your winter protection structures are still securely in place.

Check that greenhouse heaters are working.

Take action to prevent ponds and standpipes from freezing.

Prune over-grown apples and pears, but not those trained against walls.

Prune acers, birches and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding.

Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops.

Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted.

Take hardwood cuttings.

Keep mice away from stored produce.

Reduce watering of houseplants.

Of course, the other pleasure at this time of year is purchasing Christmas-flowering houseplants, either for your own home or as gifts for friends. RHS suggests poinsettia, cyclamen, azalea, jasmine or gardenia, all kept in the right conditions.