Monty Don says tulips need to be planted now and shares his Boxing Day gardening ritual

“The gardening days are absurdly short,” Monty Don said of December when night falls by 4.30pm.

“My garden in December is not a fun place,” the gardening expert admitted on his own personal blog, however, there are jobs to be done for a more pleasant garden come spring.

Monty Don noted: “There are leaves to collect, last-minute tulips to plant, perhaps even trees or shrubs to plant as well.”

Planting tulips

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) pointed out that tulip bulbs need to be spaced at least twice their width apart when planted.

Bulbs need to be planted at a depth of up to three times their height, with the pointed end of the bulb facing upwards towards the sky.

Take note that tulips create a more natural look when planted in odd numbers.

And, overall, tulips prefer more alkaline soil (a pH of six or more), so if the soil is acidic (lower than a pH of six), apply lime to the soil.

The RHS stated: “In areas with very cold winters, tulips benefit from deeper planting to protect them from penetrating frosts.”

Planting shrubs

Planting can be “quick and easy”, especially for small shrubs, the RHS noted.

Make sure the ground isn’t too wet or frozen when it comes to planting the shrub, whether they be rose shrubs or holly shrubs.

What you will need to plant a shrub:

  • Shrub
  • Bucket of water
  • Watering can or hose
  • Spade and fork
  • Cane
  • Garden compost
  • Mulch.

The first step is to make sure the rootball is completely soaked in water before planting. Next, dig a hole the same depth as the rootball, but three times as wide.

Check the roots to see if they are circling around the pot; if so, gently loosen them so they can grow

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