When Lawns or grass edges have become uneven or in bad condition or partially worn, this will be found a good month to relay the sod. Low spots should have the sod raised. This is done by taking up the sod and leveling up with good rich soil, then relaying the sod and afterwards rolling or tamping it with the back of the spade until the whole is level and even.
Where grass edgings are worn, the sod should be taken up (being cut in squares of about one foot) and placed on the opposite side of the walk. After giving the ground a good coating of old manure, spade to the depth of twelve inches, breaking up the soil as fine as possible with the spade. Level and rake the ground into shape and relay the sod, putting each square into place as neatly as possible. Give a light sprinkling of sifted soil and a good soaking of water; the following day, tamp level with the back of the spade, making the whole solid and hard. After edging into line it should look as well as an old established lawn.
Where new grounds are to be laid out and much planting to be done, December is one of the best months for the carrying forward of this work, also for the planting of most of our hardy trees and shrubs.
Plant deciduous trees and shrubs, also Cypress, Pine, Laurel, Euonymus, Box and all hardy evergreens, leaving Eucalyptus, Pittosporum and most of the Australian groups until March.
The pruning of Roses should be attended to this month; cut out, first, all weak or sickly growths and cut back all unripe soft shoots to firm, mature wood.
Climbers should have their shoots thinned out where they are at all matted; cut out all hard, weak wood which does not produce strong, young shoots. After pruning, tie all straggling shoots into place, and mulch with good manure about the roots of all Roses whether grown as standards, on trellises or in beds, leaving the mulching to be washed in by the Winter rains. Plant Roses in ground well trenched and manured.
Propagate this plant by means of the leaves; remove the leaves, with a sharp knife, close down to the base of the leaf-stems, and place them in shallow pans filled with clean sharp sand or light sandy leaf-mold, selecting strong leaves for cuttings.
Climbers should be freed from superfluous shoots, all growths too weak to produce flowers being removed and the strong shoots shortened.
If any scale or other insects be found among the leaves or stems, the plants should be taken from the trellises and thoroughly cleaned.
See that Poinsettias and other flowering-plants are carefully watered at the roots and their flowers and bracts kept away from drip and damp.
Keep all paths clean and give air freely during warm weather, opening the ventilators in the early part of the day and shutting them up again as soon as the temperature begins to fall in the afternoon. See that the foliage of all plants is kept clean and free from insects.