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Monday 3 February 2020

This Month in Your Garden - February

‘…you have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?’ ~William Shakespeare

February is a month with much to do about everything. Unless there’s snow or sleet of course. So we take its mixed bag as it comes and get on with digging the soil if it’s not frozen, preparing for hardy annuals and vegetables. If you are driven indoors, use the time to organise your list of seeds what compost you’ll need.

You can start hardy annual seeds indoors in a propagator on a windowsill, or in the heated greenhouse, to get early flowers for cutting. But don’t be tempted to sow too many seeds because they can get ‘leggy’, reserve some for later sowing. Calendula is a popular choice and easy if you’re starting out.

Outside, in late January there were already the heralds of spring with daffodils beginning to shoot up between the pendulous heads of Galanthus nivalis, soon to be joined by the yellow of winter aconites. Back to the borders and it’s good to work in some organic fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bonemeal.

Mix well with the soil, being careful not to disturb emerging bulbous plants, and then you can let the frosts do their work of breaking down the soil. It’s handy to use a hoe to clear any weeds – we tend to forget how useful a tool it is. There’s pruning you can do, cutting back roses, Wisteria and Buddleia, and winter-flowering shrubs now they’ve finished flowering, along with evergreen hedges and overgrown deciduous hedges.

Why not plant some lily bulbs in a sunny spot in well-drained soil, working in some well-rotted organic matter as you go? Plenty more to do.

  • Chit potato tubers
  • Start begonias, gloxinias and hippeastrum
  • Sow pansies, antirrhinums and impatiens in a greenhouse or on a windowsill
  • Finish pruning apple and pear trees
  • Cut back Cornus and salix
  • Divide bulbs such as snowdrops 
  • Sow parsley
  • Cut back deciduous grasses    

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