February in the Garden 2021
This month - Sow Sweet Peas - Order summer flowering bulbs - Chit potatoes - Prune climbing plants - Autumn Chelsea Flower Show
February 2021 is here. Who knows what to expect from the weather, let alone everything else going on in the world at the moment? Well, what we do know is that it will probably snow again (hurrah!) and there will be frosty, rainy and cold moments. However, if you look hard enough, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We will see more daylight hours, sunny spells and we gardeners know that the anticipation of spring is just around the corner and the new growing season is almost upon us, so read on and see what you can be growing in February……
I already have sweet peas, as well as cuttings of penstemons and lavender, on the go. Also, this winter I have an ongoing conveyer belt of microgreens being sown and grown in plastic recycled containers on my kitchen windowsill. It is a positive hive of activity and I love it. Bringing gardening inside in the cooler months is beneficial to our health and the simple act of nurturing a plant is proven to relieve stress levels and calm the mind. Better still, if it’s a salad crop, like the aforesaid microgreens, growing indoors gives us something delicious and nutritious to eat too.
Sow sweet peas - If you haven’t done so already it’s time to sow a few sweet pea seeds into deep pots if possible, to give the roots a chance to establish well before planting out in May. Once the first true set of leaves have appeared, pinch out the tops to encourage more side shoots which will encourage bushier growth, more flowers and prevent the sweet pea seedlings becoming ‘leggy’.
Summer flowering bulbs are an easy way to bring months of colour to garden pots and borders. Plan your bulb displays now for colour from May with the cool colours of Liatris and Agapanthus to the hot oranges, reds and yellows of tropical cannas in later summer. There is a flowering bulb for every day of the year. See my separate blog on our website - (Blooming Bulbs for year-round colour).
Potatoes - are a staple carbohydrate in the UK with most of us enjoying a spud* or two with our lunch or evening meal. They are easy to grow and digging up your own harvest of fresh potatoes is often said to be the time that most new gardeners are hooked onto ‘Grow Your Own’ vegetable growing.
Potato tubers can be chitted (allow shoots to grow an inch or two) and then planted into the ground or large pots or potato growing bags from mid-late March to be harvested in the summer months, depending on the variety. Take a look on our website for varieties available to order now.
*Spud – The word we often use to describe our potatoes possibly originates from around the 1440’s with the Dutch word ‘spyd’, the Old Norse word ‘spjot’ (spear) or possibly the Latin word ‘spad’ (sword), referring to a short dagger/spade-like tool. In later years when the potato was introduced to the UK in the late 1500’s a ‘spud’ was used as a garden tool for digging the hole to put the potato tuber into and used for harvesting the crop.
Pruning back climbing plants - *Climbing Roses and *Clematis
*Climbing Roses - Climbers that have either outgrown their allotted space or are generally looking dishevelled will benefit from a good spring cutback. Use sharp secateurs and remove dead, dying or diseased wood first and then shape the plants, cutting back to an outward facing bud.
Clematis - Pruning Guide –
Group 3 Clematis can be pruned back hard almost to the ground in February.
Group 2 Clematis can be pruned now too and again after the first flower flush.
Group 1 Clematis which are the early flowering types, can be remembered with the ditty, if it flowers before June, don’t prune. Group 1 clematis are the ones that scramble over fences, sheds, pergolas and up through fruit trees in late spring and early summer. They just need a prune when they overcrowd other plants.
Chelsea Flower Show 2021 – It has been announced that for the first time in its history this year’s Chelsea Flower Show has been postponed until the end of September, instead of its usual slot in May. It will still thankfully have an online virtual show in May heralding summer and showcasing new gardening trends and plant introductions, so we can still get our fix of new plants for summer.
However, I love the sound of having the Chelsea Flower Show later in the season as we can now look forward to a spectacular show in September. With many exciting and different varieties of plants coming into their own in late summer, there will be a whole lot of getting ‘hot under the collar’ with garden designers having to create new display gardens and using an altogether different assortment of planting and landscaping.
Expect to see exotic planting designs using grasses and palms to give movement and height and the use of more vibrant colours like rich ruby reds, burnt oranges, sizzling golds and passionate pinks of plants such as cannas, gladioli, rudbeckias, echinacea and banana plants.
This year’s Chelsea will be like no other. It will be a great opportunity to see late summer/autumn plant, shrub and tree varieties, new ideas for winter planting in our gardens and as ever, spectacular show gardens bringing us trends for summer/autumn 2022. I can’t wait!
For the foreseeable future though, let’s keep our feet planted firmly in the here and now and let ‘the powers that be’ focus on the world getting vaccinated, whilst we gardeners get our hands dirty in the life-giving and life-affirming earth that is our gardens.
Have fun and enjoy your garden,
Your Brookside Blogger