Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden. David Coton suggests the jobs that can occupy the shortening days.
This is Dan Everton's guide to looking after your pond during December. With Christmas approaching and shopping for presents a priority it can sometimes be difficult but read on for our seasonal tips to keep the pond in top condition.
By December the water temperature will have dropped down slowly. It is a quiet time of year for the pond so you'll be glad to hear that you won't have too much to do, if you have prepared properly in previous months.
If you have installed a pond heater then it is likely that this has already come into its own, preventing at least a small area from freezing over, allowing toxic gases to escape and vital oxygen to enter the pond water.
Keeping this hole for the gases to escape and oxygen to get in is a must, in the past people have mentioned they've used a football or broken the ice but the problem with this is that the vibrations from breaking the ice can actually damage fish. If possible, always use a pond heater or alternative such as an air pump to prevent a total freeze over of the pond.
Organic materials in the pond will not decompose as quickly at this time of year due to the low temperatures. As long as there are no unexpected fish deaths or anything rotting down in the pond then you will be okay with regards to water quality, however if you want to keep an eye on it you can perform a test weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly when possible.
Usually warm water will rise to the surface of the pond but below 4ºC the opposite happens, the warm water will settle in the deeper parts of the pond, this is where you will find your fish hibernating. Lift your pond pump off the bottom if you haven't already, this will leave the warmer water at the bottom which is ideal for your fish.
Don't worry about fish not eating, when the water temperature is very low their digestive system will have shut down temporarily. If they do eat then it's likely it will rot inside them and cause future problems like internal bacteria that can cause fatalities.
A good thing to remember is that, due to the fish hibernating and not feeding, they will be weak coming out of winter so it's good to treat them with a tonic salt that will help boost their immune system.
Visit our website to view our range of pond ice prevention products that will help you during the winter to protect your fish.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, tips and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2018.
Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and here at the Garden Centre we are already receiving new stock in readiness for spring which is just around the corner. David Coton suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.
Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.