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Clematis. cirrhosa var. Purpurascens  'Freckles' is a great plant for this time of year as it flowers through the winter season.

It has a slightly shiny, evergreen foliage and use to clothe a wall, arbour, trellis or pergola and it can also be grown over large shrubs or small trees.

Frost, rainfall and winds are increasingly common, sunshine hours are much reduced and it can be bitter with a risk of snow. You may not want to be working outside at this time of year, but luckily there is not a lot to do. Keep an eye on winter protection, and if you have a greenhouse, make sure the heater works. It's time to think about pruning apples and pears too.

Direct Gardens offer a professional garden design service which is specifically tailored to your needs, providing shrub and planting advice, designs and planting plans, from a small area to a full-size garden.

We will work with you so you have something that meets your requirements, from the traditional cottage garden to a contemporary city garden.

Plant of the month - C. cirrhosa var. purpurascens 'Freckles'

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Acer palmatum 'Shindeshōjō'

Top 10 jobs for December

  1.     Check your winter protection structures are still     securely in place
  2.     Check that greenhouse heaters are working OK
  3.     Prevent ponds and stand pipes from freezing
  4.     Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not     those trained against walls)
  5.     Prune Acers, birches and vines before Christmas     to avoid bleeding
  6.     Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts     and remaining root crops
  7.     Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted     and transplanted
  8.     Take hardwood cuttings
  9.     Keep mice away from stored produce
  10.     Reduce watering of houseplants

Dunnock - Prunella modularis

Robin - Erithacus rubecula

Nuthatch Sitta europaea