Jobs in your garden this December

As we fast approach the shortest day (21st December), that desire to stay warm and cosy indoors becomes almost irresistible!  However, although there will undoubtedly be some rainy days and frosty ones, there will also be times when it’s bright enough to enjoy pottering in the garden too. After all, in the words of poet Oliver Herford, “We are nearer to Spring than we were in September, I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.”


As most plants are becoming dormant, now is a good time to give many woody-stemmed ones a prune. Climbing roses can have a serious ‘haircut’ now if they need it, to help encourage new growth in the spring. If you have blackcurrants, remove about a quarter of the old stems, taking them right back to ground level. Grapevines, whether outdoors or in a greenhouse, should be cut back: take side-branches back to within one or two buds from the main stem. Most fruit trees will also need pruning now (or at least, by the end of February); read our blog on pruning fruit trees if you need more advice. In general, any overgrown shrubs or hedges can be pruned back now, before the growing season gets underway.

While you are pruning, it’s also a good idea to check any ties and stakes you’re using, to ensure your plants will survive any winter storms we may get.


raking up leaves

Collecting fallen leaves can feel a bit like painting the Forth Bridge at this time of year; no sooner than you’ve filled the compost bin than another strong gust of wind comes along and brings more down! As we have talked about before, leaves can block out light to your lawn and become a slip hazard on paths and patios so it’s safer to collect them regularly. Although they can act as a great natural mulch in your borders, they can also harbour slugs and other pests so it could be better to turn them into leaf mould before using them as a mulch. Finally, if you have a pond, leaves decomposing in it will become a danger to fish and other wildlife so best to scoop them out.  Leave the leaves and any other gunge on the side of the pond for a couple of days, to enable any pondlife that has been scooped up to escape back into the water, then pop it on the compost.

If you do have a pond and fish, you might be interested in this article from ‘Pond Informer’ on how to keep leaves at bay.

In the greenhouse and indoors

Your houseplants and anything over-wintering in the greenhouse should generally take care of itself so it’s mostly just a question of checking up on them from time to time. For example, if you’ve got pelargoniums and geraniums resting in the greenhouse, deadhead any faded leaves and flowers from time to time. Any plants in the greenhouse should need less water now and keeping them on the dry side will help reduce the chances of pests and disease.  It’s also worth investing in a good max-min thermometer for your greenhouse (whether it’s heated or not) to help ensure your plants don’t freeze.

In the house, you might want to move plants to sunny windowsills over the winter, to give them as much daylight as possible. Think about how close your plants are to radiators. Although species that we grow as houseplants in the UK naturally do better in warmer conditions, the hot and dry atmosphere close to radiators (or other heat sources) actually doesn’t suit very many of them. And if you have cyclamen indoors, remember to water them from underneath and deadhead them regularly to keep them flowering.

houseplant in window

Welcome to wildlife

hibernating hedgehog

Don’t forget to keep your bird feeders topped up over the winter and cleaned regularly to avoid diseases. Those cheerful garden visitors seem much more visible when there is less foliage around and it’s lovely to see them. You might want to think about hanging feeders near your roses to encourage the birds to feast on any pests lingering on them!  And remember to keep water bowls topped up. Even a light frost can be enough for shallow bowls to freeze, denying the birds a drink, so check regularly.

Hopefully any hedgehogs who visit you will be hibernating by now but, if we have a mild spell, they may wake up early. It’s only if they don’t go back to sleep when it turns cold again that you need to worry about them. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society have advice and a helpline here if you’re worried.  

Hedgehogs are the gardener’s friend and are now classed as vulnerable so please keep an eye on any near you.

Ready for Christmas?

If you’re growing your own vegetables ready for Christmas lunch, keep an eye on them now to make sure they are in tip top condition. Brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli can be prone to grey mould or downy mildew so keep them well ventilated and pick off any dead leaves. If you’re growing Brussels sprouts, you might want to tie the stems to a strong cane for support if it’s windy or the sprouts are getting big enough to make the plant top heavy.

If you’ve been organised and bought your Christmas tree already (we have them in stock at Titchfield now!), stand it in a bucket of water in a cool but sheltered spot outside until you’re ready to bring in it.

brussel sprouts on dinner plate

Hambrooks wish you a very happy festive season and leave you with this vegetable-related Christmas cracker joke:
Why was the snowman looking through the carrots?
He was picking his nose!




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”