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Monday 1 February 2021

This Month in Your Garden - February

"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March." - Dr. J. R. Stockton

That is perhaps a little unfair on February, with its snowdrops (Galanthus) and daffodils joining primula and primrose in early displays to say spring is not too far away. For many of us, the early month shows some heavy bands of rain, but the dry spells also look as if we will get the usual February mixed bag of extremes from mild to freezing. 

So, what does the month offer the gardener? If you have a heated greenhouse or frame you can be getting on with sowing trays of annuals for splashes of colour, from pansies and violas to petunias and cascading begonias for hanging baskets. 

No greenhouse? Well, a windowsill will do and in a cold greenhouse, sweet peas will grow happily for planting out after the frosts. If it is not too wet, you can plant climbing roses, honeysuckle and Virginia creeper. It’s a good time to prune back overgrown ivy or remove it altogether if it is becoming a nuisance. 

Watch out for slugs attacking young delphiniums and emerging Hostas and treat as you see fit. Encouraging wildlife into the garden helps and if you are growing organically using nematodes, natural slug killers, is compatible. 

Tidy up herbaceous perennials, prepare vegetable beds and start dahlia tubers and lily bulbs in pots in the greenhouse or plant lilies in the ground. Dahlias are best planted out after the frosts. Deadhead winter pansies – they will often grow right through spring. Warm yourself up on colder days by pruning summer-flowering clematis, buddleia, wisteria and winter flowering shrubs and hedges. 

  • Top dress container plants with fresh compost
  • Take root cuttings of oriental poppies, phlox, acanthus and Japanese anemones
  • Divide snowdrops after flowering and replant when they are still green       
  • Make early sowings of petunia, geraniums (pelargoniums), impatiens (busy Lizzie)
  • Sow lobelia for hanging baskets and containers, Cosmea and marigolds 
  • Try rudbeckia, tuberous begonia, cosmos, Felicia and delphiniums 

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