Your Garden in FEBRUARY
YOUR GARDEN IN FEBRUARY
For many keen gardeners, February is a fairly cheerful month. Snowdrops are blooming and the daffodils and other spring bulbs are starting to peep through. You can see buds appearing on your favourite trees and shrubs, and the days are getting noticeably longer. If the weather permits, there are plenty of jobs to do in preparation for the busy months to come.
Any perennials and grasses not cut back in the autumn can be done this month, but leave anything a bit tender for now, as the top growth will continue to protect from frosts. It's a good idea to start with the tough characters, like Geraniums, and leave things like Salvia and Penstemon until well into March.
Sow seeds of half hardy annuals like Nasturtiums and Sweet Peas and perhaps some more adventurous perennials. It's a good idea to get them started as early as possible, but try not to sow any more than you can accommodate as it may be a while before it warms up enough for seedlings to go outside.
There are products available to improve germination rates – heated propagators, cold frames, greenhouse heaters, soil warming cables to name a few. However, don't be put off if you haven't got all this gear, because good results are possible with some pots on a windowsill!
Roses, Clematis, Buddleja, Wisteria and others can be pruned in late February or March. I can't go into detail here on all the pruning techniques, but one thing to say is don't be afraid of pruning! Lots of plants look so much better when given a hard prune. If you're a bit unsure, feel free to pop into a garden centre and ask for advice, or check out the RHS website which has some great information available.
Lots of Hellebores are flowering this month. Some gardeners like to cut off all the leaves at this point to show off the flowers, but that's a personal choice – if you do want to try, rest assured the plant will come to no harm. It is advisable, though, to remove all leaves when Hellebore black spot is present. This will show as dark rings on both sides of the leaf, and swift removal of the affected leaves will limit its spread.
If you want to add some colour or scent to your garden at this time of year, there are plenty of plants to consider. Hamamelis, or Witch Hazel, is one of our most spectacular winter flowering shrubs, with fragrant flowers in hues of yellow, orange and red. Jasminum nudiflorum, the winter flowering Jasmine, with its bright yellow flowers, will bring a splash of sunshine to your late winter garden.
This year, however, I'm particularly enjoying the vivid yellow Eranthis hyemalis, or winter aconites. Not only will they add brightness to your garden, they are also a great pollinator for up and coming wildlife.
FEBRUARY ON THE VEG PLOT
Whether you have an allotment, a veggie patch in your garden or just a few containers for growing your own, Ruth McNamee from our Plant Area can guide you through the edible gardening year.
Light levels are increasing now so, as long as you can provide warmth and protection, sowing can begin.
Broad beans and peas are a good start. Look for a variety that can be sown early. I'm growing Witkiem Manita broad beans, started under a cloche.
Place the cloche out over the prepared area at the beginning of the month, to warm and dry the soil. Sow a couple of weeks later. They grow over a metre tall so will need staking when the cloche is removed. Plants can also be started in the greenhouse, using individual pots, to be planted out later.
Sow early carrots in a 30cm deep pot in the greenhouse. Start salad leaves and rocket, some to plant out later and some to grow on undercover.
Place a forcer, lined with straw over a crown of rhubarb. This will exclude light and provide a bit of warmth and protection which will encourage the rhubarb to grow. The stems will be pink and tender as the plant stretches out looking for light. After picking these delicious stems let the crown rest and do not harvest from it again until next year.
https://www.bartongrange.co.uk/plants-and-gardening/gardening-advice/ Thanks to WILL