Christmas Eve, just two days after the longest night. Do you have a list of jobs to complete today before hanging up your stocking tonight?

I have to confess I’m all done. There will be no work done in my garden now until the New Year.

The Christmas trees are decorated, the presents for the four of us, my partner, mother, myself and our terrier Chester, are all piled up under the lounge tree, ready to be opened in the morning.

The big question is, will I get all the things I suggested on my Christmas list? The older we get the more difficult I feel it is to choose presents for others. I feel that, being a gardener, there is always plenty to choose from. Simple things, like gardening gloves, secateurs or a piece of garden sculpture can all go down well with us gardeners. So, fingers crossed.

A Christmas favourite is the stunning hippeastrum (or amaryllis), this has been a stalwart for many years to give as a gift. The bulbs are very easy to grow and quite spectacular when in bloom. It is generally said, that the bigger the bulb, the greater the opportunity of more than one stem developing. If you receive one, when potting up, leave 60 per cent of the top of the bulb exposed above the soil. Place in a good light, say on a windowsill, water sparingly and wait for the explosion.

I’ve not really done much outside this week, it’s not much fun being out there when it’s cold.

I have checked the large containers of shrubs that don’t like the wind and the cold under cover in an alley to the side of the house. I’ve got about six sheltered in there at the moment but they do need to be watered every so often, which has now been done.

Regular visits up to the heated greenhouse are needed too as the plants also need checking.

I have one of those probes that you can pierce the soil with and it will tell you how damp it is, allowing you to tell whether it needs watering, a really useful tool at this time of year.

My collection of tender plants in there have also been carefully checked, the dead leaves removed and watered where necessary.

All my bird feeders and water trays have been topped up to ensure our feathered friends don’t go hungry and have an enjoyable Christmas too. I’m maintaining regular daily checks in my garden shed this year too. I was horrified, when I emptied it in the spring, to find rats had AirBnBd in there last winter.

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