A time to catch up?
If you have been a good gardener you should have completed all your digging, trenching and turning over ground earlier in the winter, leaving the rough earth to be weathered down by the frosts.
The trouble is, time and the weather may have conspired against you but all is not lost. Usually February will allow you some days to catch up and you could also be preparing a site for sowing a lawn or turfing come the spring. There is time for planting or transplanting lilies outdoors, pruning bush or standard roses and finishing planting trees and shrubs.
Towards the end of the month you should be able to start sowing vegetables. In early February flowering shrubs such as Hydrangea paniculata and Spiraea japonica should be pruned, cutting back last year’s stems to within one or two joints of the older wood.
By mid February you can be planting anemones St. Brigid and de Caen as well as ranunculeses. This is the month when snowdrops come to the fore, with yellow winter aconites hard upon their heels, followed by crocuses and Irises. What looks like a dull month turns colourful with evergreen shrubs like the Viburnham and Mahonias joining the hellebores to put on a display. There’s a lot to be done with the vegetable plot.
- Hoe beds on warmer days to clear weeds and break up the soil
- Sow annual seeds such as pansies, antirrhinum and impatiens in a green house or on a windowsill
- Prune roses by cutting back stems by half to two thirds and cut climbers back
- Start begonias, gloxinias and hippeastrums
- Prune summer flowering clematis, buddleia and wisteria
- Cut back coloured stems of cornus and salix
- Plant lily bulbs in a sunny spot in well-drained soil with well rotted organic matter
- Complete pruning of apple and pear trees, currants and gooseberries
- Sow parsley