A Sunny Winter's Day in Your Garden
This blog offers a day-long itinerary to guide you through a day of gardening during December in the UK – perfect for the sudden cold spell we’re experiencing. It’s designed to keep you focused on suitable garden tasks to enjoy this month and ensure you stay warm and safe in the freezing conditions. Follow my plan precisely, or adapt it to suit your garden and abilities.
Oh, and don't worry—I've scheduled some time to warm up, too. Sometimes, the best way to appreciate your frosty garden is to snuggle up in your cosy living room as you enjoy it from indoors.
Ready for a day of immersive winter gardening? Let’s go!
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8:00 AM - Breakfast:
Begin the day with a warm, filling breakfast indoors to prepare for the outdoor activities ahead
Include a hot drink e.g. tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, as this will help you stay warm
Check the weather so that you can plan your time accordingly. Most weather apps will detail the forecast hour by hour so you can choose the mildest time to spend outside
9:00 AM - Garden assessment:
Step outside to assess the garden
Look for signs of frost damage on leaves, and take note of plants that require immediate attention
Keep to paths, and avoid standing on the grass whilst it’s wet or frosty
10:00 AM - Preparation:
Gather the necessary tools, gloves, and materials you’ll need for the day's tasks
Dress warmly with multiple thin layers. Base garments and thermals hold your body heat, and a padded gilet will help to keep your torso toasty. Wear gloves and a hat, and protect sensitive skin from wind chill
Clear pathways and rake fallen leaves on hard surfaces before starting major activities
11:00 AM - Winter plant care:
Attend to winter plants by inspecting them for diseases, pruning where necessary, and if you still need to do so, providing them with suitable protection (horticultural fleece, blankets, plant covers, straw, etc.)
Knock off any snow from branches or fragile plants to prevent them from splitting under the extra weight
Check on stored bulbs and tubers, ensuring they are in good condition. Discard any that have become frost damaged or any that feel spongey
12:30 PM - Lunch:
Have a lunch break indoors to warm up. Have a hot, nutritious meal such as soup
Plan the afternoon’s tasks and check for weather updates
1:00 PM - Planting and maintenance:
If it is cold but not frosty, you can plant winter-hardy shrubs, trees, or bulbs suitable for the season. Never plant in frozen or water-logged soil
Start seeds off –
- If sown now, some vegetables, e.g. broad beans will be ready for harvest as early as Spring.
- Microgreens and mustard greens can be sown and grown indoors on a sunny windowsill.
- Lettuce varieties like ‘Winter Gem’ and Lamb’s Lettuce can be sown in pots and grown-on in an unheated greenhouse or under a cold frame for cropping later this winter
- Attend to maintenance tasks such as compost turning, checking and repairing garden structures, or cleaning and sharpening garden tools
2:30 PM - Garden design and planning:
Step inside if you need to warm up again!
Spend time sketching or planning the layout for the upcoming spring season. This is a excellent job to do if you have raised beds or an allotment
Research and make a list of plants or seeds to purchase
3:30 PM - Tidying and organisation:
Before the sun sets, take care of any areas that need tidying. If fallen leaves have collected on the surface of plants growing in pots, remove them to prevent pests and diseases from thriving
Store tools, pots, and gardening supplies in a sheltered area to protect them from frost damage
4:00 PM - Reflection and appreciation:
Take a moment to appreciate your day's work in your winter garden
Observe the changing light as it falls across your plants and the evening sun disappears
4:30 PM - Indoor unwind:
Go indoors to warm up and wash your hands
Close the curtains, light a candle, make yourself a hot drink, and relax
5:00 PM onwards – Relaxation:
Spend your evening however you wish. If you want to continue your garden-themed day, here are some ideas:
- Research plants and gardening techniques using your favourite plant books
- Plan future garden projects
- Create a planting schedule for the upcoming seasons
- Watch a gardening TV show. I will always love Gardener’s World!
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Remember, during very cold weather, always dress warmly in layers. Wear suitable, sturdy footwear in icy conditions. Be prepared to adjust your schedule according to the weather conditions and prioritise safety and comfort throughout the day. Don’t worry if your garden is not “perfect” or you don’t complete everything on your “to-do” list. Gardening is supposed to be enjoyed!