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Although on first glance the winter garden might appear to be asleep it doesn’t mean that it has to be a dull season. Many plants will have lost their leaves (although many have hung on a very long time this year!) but interest and colour can be found in berries, interesting barks and even some buds that can be seen forming already, bringing the promise of spring.

Winter-bare branches reveal the structure of your garden nicely and this gives a good opportunity to do some pruning (unless it is very frosty) to improve the shape of trees and shrubs. It’s also a good time to move any plants that are in the wrong place or have outgrown their space. But again, don’t do this if the weather is very cold.

Long winter evenings are the perfect time to plan for the coming year. Why not start a Wish List of plants, seeds and gardening tools? If you leave it lying around perhaps you may get a nice surprise present come Christmas Day!

Of course much of December means Christmas preparations, with our thoughts turning to decorating for the festive season. You’ll find everything you need at Merryhatton to decorate the inside of your home, but have you considered adding a bit of Christmas spirit to your garden too? The bare branches of deciduous trees and shrubs can be enhanced with a few simple baubles. We’ve done this to a silver birch tree in our plant area, and we’ve embellished a standard Photinia with ornaments in a cool silver shade which complements the variegation of its leaves. It’s best to wire the baubles on to the stems as otherwise they might blow off in a strong wind! Also choose to decorate plants that you can see from indoors as well as out so that you can get the full benefit. Outdoor lights are very effective and if you don’t have an outdoor electrical socket then there is a good choice of battery operated lights.

The centre piece for most people is of course the Christmas tree that will take pride of place in our homes for several weeks. Potted trees are living and can be taken back out to your garden after the festive season, either potted on into a larger container or planted out into the border. Cut trees should be treated in much the same way as you would a bunch of cut flowers – kept as cool as possible and with their trunks in water they will happily last the festive season. If you need some help to choose the best type of tree for your home or garden, just pop in to Merryhatton and we’ll be happy to advise you.

Evergreens stand out in the garden at this time of year, but why not cut some foliage from plants such as holly and ivy for a traditional way to “deck the halls”? This natural indoor decoration can look very effective mixed with a few colourful baubles and candles (use battery operated ones for safety). And don’t forget that potted bulbs, houseplants and planted containers all make attractive and welcome festive gifts.

A merry Christmas and a happy new year from all the team at Merryhatton!

Ann Rosie and Julie - merryhatton team

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