Gardening in Lancashire in December is a labour of love, because if you make the effort in the winter, the garden will be at its most glorious when the summer comes round – and this is especially the case for soft fruit.

So, now is the time to lay the foundations for your apricot crop. Writing for iNews, chief horticultural adviser for the Royal Horticultural Society Guy Barter recommends thinking about where you want your apricots to grow.

“Apricots thrive in warm gardens, sunny walls or greenhouses being quick maturing, resistant to peach leaf curl and of course tasty,” he explained, adding that winter is a good time to plant.

The members of the apricot plant family Barter recommended the Flavorcot, Goldcot and Tomcot from North America, all of which are hardy and full of flavour.

In addition, Moorpark and Alfred apricot plants are ideally fan-trained against a wall that gets plenty sun, while dwarf Aprigold and Compacta patio trees are easy to protect from frost in the flowering season.

The expert also recommended storing roots for beetroot, turnip, swede and celeriac indoors in a sand box to prevent them from succumbing to the frost and rotting. A cool shed is ideal because a warm home will cause sprouting and a loss in flavour.

Now is also the perfect time to take hardwood cuttings for roses, elder and dogwood. Gardeners should put their cuttings in potting compost and store them in a greenhouse – but do not neglect them over winter or they will dry out.