If you did most of your planting and pruning in fall, December is an easy month in the garden. Puttering at its best.
But be cautious when tiptoeing through wet soil after a rain. You don’t want to compact the soil and squeeze out oxygen.
Also keep your eyes peeled for frost. Move tender tropicals and succulents under a patio or eaves for protection. When temperatures are dropping and skies are clear, you may want to throw a sheet over pricey tropical plants that can’t be moved.
If it hasn’t rained, pay attention to drought, especially in the dry areas under house eaves and large trees. Cold is one condition a plant must endure, but cold combined with drought can prove too much for some plants.
Sharpen your shovels and pruners, tune up power tools, feed the birds and keep their water source topped-up and fresh.
Gather greens and bring them indoors. Conifers, herbs, variegated shrubs and ornamental grasses combined make pretty holiday arrangements.
•Bare-root fruit trees, ornamental trees, roses
•Camellias and azaleas
•Cool-season annuals and winter vegetables
•California native plants
Many flowering plants and most vegetables are annual plants, living only a year at most, but usually just one season. Annuals to plant in our mild winter weather are ageratum, alyssum, calendulas, lobelia, nasturtiums, pansies, poppies, verbena and wildflowers.
In the vegetable garden, plant lettuce, mustard, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, peas, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and strawberries.