While we still may be in the grips of winter, February offers us tantalising glimpses of spring.
February is a month filled with snowdrops, early daffodils, hellebores, witch hazels and colourful stems of dogwoods and willows. But more importantly, it's a month of the three Ps: preparation, pruning and planning!
Bulbs and tubers
- Enjoy snowdrops wherever you see them. As soon as the flowers fade you can lift crowded clumps and carefully divide them. Replant them immediately but be careful as they hate having their roots broken. If you want to find out more about how to plant them in the green, here's Nic's article on the subject.
A snowdrop clump ready to split up
- Buy dahlia tubers and start them into growth. Pot them up in the greenhouse with a bit of heat. New shoots will root easily as cuttings, which is a great way to increase your stock.
A pink cactus dahlia
Pruning trees, shrubs, climbers, etc.
- Prune Clematis for better and bigger blooms! Varieties that flower after midsummer should be cut back hard (flowers will only appear on newly grown shoots). Those that flower before midsummer should be more lightly pruned - i.e. back to 75cm.
Clematis plant after pruning
- Varieties with smaller flowers, such as Clematis montana, generally only need pruning to make them fit in the space you have available.
_Catalpa bignoniodes_ 'Aurea'
- Check that climbers are securely tied to their supports and old ties are not strangling older, thicker stems. Loosen tree ties a bit if necessary, and prevent them from slipping down both the tree and the stake by nailing the tie to the top of the stake.
- Put plenty of well-rotted manure around your roses, and give them a liberal dressing of balanced rose fertiliser.
- Plant new roses and fruit trees ao they will be partly established when spring arrives.
- Looking at your gardens winter skeleton, are you wondering if it could look better? February is a great time to assess whether an evergreen shrub, tree or perhaps an archway, pergola or statue would improve things.
A well planned front garden with a focal point
- If you have taken photos of your garden throughout past seasons, check them out and plan how you might improve things.
- Visit other gardens and note down what works well and could be incorporated in your own space.
Learn more here:
Lawns, hedges, paths and drives
- Trim lawn edges with a sharp edging iron. Insert plastic or metal edging strips as support. It’s amazing what a difference a neat lawn makes to the look of a garden!
- Start to cut the lawn if required but only on dry mild days. Keep those blades high!
The indoor garden
- Repot your houseplants if they need it. Don't be afraid to knock the pot off and see if your plant is root-bound. If so, move up just one or two pot sizes. Use good quality houseplant or multi-purpose compost.
- Taller plants might benefit from the support of moss poles.
_Schefflera arboricola_ 'Gerda' on a moss pole
Bedding plants, pots and borders
- Perennials and shrubs that are growing in pots should be repotted. Use good compost and add slow-release fertiliser such as Osmocote to the mix. This will feed the plants for most of the year.
- If you can’t move up a pot size, remove a couple of inches of compost from the top and bottom and replace it with fresh.
Potting on box trees
- Winter bedding plants will benefit from liquid feed such as Miracle-Gro. Pots, window-boxes and hanging baskets filled with flowers like pansies and primroses will perform better if fed in February.
Seedling and plug plant pelargoniums
- Sow more sweet peas in long tube pots .