February in your garden
1 CommentThursday, 26 January 2017 | Alison
Curling up by a warm fire alongside the cat or dog may seem very appealing during the dark, dank days of February, but there will be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of brighter days with extended daylight hours and crisp sunny days. If you wrap up warmly, it is always worth ‘doing’ an hour in your garden or at the very least take a stroll down the garden path. I find the extra layers are soon taken off when digging, raking or planting… just remember to take them inside when you have finished for the day as a frozen scarf is not at all nice to wrap around your neck the next time you need it… and yes I have left mine looped around the pear tree recently.
Hey ho….Here are a few jobs to be getting on with in your garden this month: -
*On dug-over ground, warm up the soil at the beginning of February, by placing polythene over the area of ground that is going to be used for early sowings. Secure the edges with old bricks or stones. The ideal time to sow outdoors is when the soil has reached above 7 C (45 F) for at least a week.
*Rake up fallen leaves and other debris to help stop over-wintering pests hiding and laying eggs.
*New bare-root plants of deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges can still be planted into the ground during mild spells during February which will give them a good start early in the growing season.
*Mulch any newly planted fruit bushes, trees and cane fruits and if you have established autumn fruiting raspberries, now is the time to cut the canes back to ground level.
*Wash and disinfect seed trays and pots. These will then be ready for early spring sowing and planting. When sowing seeds use specific seed compost. This has all the necessary nutrients for good root growth and will give your seeds a good head start.
*Start ‘chitting’ your seed potatoes by placing them “eye up to the sky” in those egg boxes you have been saving. Place them in a light, dry, but frost-free spot.
*Sow crops of broad beans in pots and place them in the greenhouse or cold frame to give them a good start before transferring them into their growing positions in the vegetable patch. Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia is one of the earliest and most prolific so order yours now from us at the nursery.
*Towards the end of the month, prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs such as Buddleia, Hydrangeas and Lavatera. Cut them back to a basic framework to give a uniform shape and remove any damaged shoots or straggly stems. With hydrangeas, cut back to just above a pair of buds on healthy wood.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have gardens located in North Yorkshire, Essex, Devon and Surrey that are open all year round to members and non-members and are well worth a visit if you are out and about during February or at Half-Term. The gardens may be large but there are always beautiful plants to see that can be adapted to fit in to our smaller gardens.
*Many other gardens are open to the public during February, especially early spring bulb gardens with snowdrops and crocus etc. in full flower. It is an ideal time to see other gardens in all their winter glory, glean information and take photographs of flowering bulbs and winter-flowering, often scented, shrubs. Sarcococca hookeriana, also known as “Himalayan Sweet Box”, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and Chimonanthus praecox, also known as yellow wintersweet, all have deliciously scented flowers as their names suggest.
Once you have one of these plants to waft past and enjoy their heavenly scent you will always want to take a daily stroll around your garden in February, and the cat? Well, she can stay by the fire.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!