February is a month when you can really ‘get going’ with gardening proper. The days lengthen, but the threat of frost hovers and heavy snowfalls can still catch us out. The clearing, tidying, pruning and planning that happen in the garden now can set the scene for the year to come and beyond.
In The Main Garden
Pinch Off Faded Blooms of Pansies
Although the temperature may be low, don’t forget to water pots and containers, particularly those sheltered by the house or porch – plants can dry out when frozen ground prevents their roots from taking up water. Pinch off the faded blooms of pansies, violas and primulas every week or so to prolong their flowering rather than setting seed.
Clear Leaves To Enjoy Snowdrop Flowers
Clear leaves from emerging Snowdrops and enjoy the flowers. Snowdrops establish well when planted ‘in the green’ and spread to form an uplifting signpost that spring is on the way - now is a good time to look around the garden and decide where to plant some more.
Cover Bare Root Roses & Fruit Trees in Compost
Dormant shrubs and perennials allow you to assess the need for structure. Trees with eye-catching bark, such as Birches and Maples, are beautiful all year.
Newly arrived bare root roses and fruit trees can be 'heeled in' by covering the roots in compost in a container until the ground defrosts.
Treat Roses To A Heavy Mulch
For roses that are already established, Hybrid Teas and Floribundas should be pruned now. Avoid pruning on frosty days and treat all roses to a heavy mulch of garden compost/rotted manure
Consider Replacing Overgrown Shrubs
Consider moving or replacing damaged, overgrown or badly placed shrubs – perhaps a heavily scented Sarcoccoca (Christmas Box) or Lonicera fragrantissima (Winter Honeysuckle) may establish better in another place, and can be enjoyed this time next year.
Divide Herbaceous Perennials in Beds & Borders
Lift and divide herbaceous perennials once the soil starts to warm up towards the end of the month, particularly those that flowered in autumn and were best left alone at that time. Tired or overgrown clumps can be lifted and split into healthy sections and replanted. Use spare divisions to fill gaps in beds and borders or give away to gardening friends.
In the Kitchen Garden
Tidy Your Sundries & Seed Collection
If you have a greenhouse take advantage of the shelter and spend some time tidying, disposing of any out of date seeds and cleaning glass to maximize the light.
Clear Your Greenhouse to Prevent Fungal Problems
Brush down everything ready for planting paying particular attention to joints and corners where pests may have been over winter. Ventilate your glasshouse, or conservatory, on mild days to help prevent fungal problems.
Prevent Weed With Ground Cover Fabric or a Cold Frame
Empty beds can be covered with a Mulch & Weed Mat to keep emerging weeds at bay and help warm the soil to get seedlings off to a flying start. If you don’t have one already, consider treating yourself to a Coldframe – you won’t look back! Use it over winter for tender perennials and then to bring on half-hardy vegetables and bedding plants.
Purchase New Garden Netting
Netting over Brassicas may have been weakened by snow and need attention – the birds will soon take advantage of holes or tears.
Plant Onions & Garlic Bulbs
Onion sets can be planted out from this month if not done so in the autumn. Garlic also needs to be in before the end of the month. Keep an eye out for birds pulling the emerging tips out, replanting if necessary. Birdscare is an innovation in crop protection and deters birds, rabbits and other pests from your crops.
Enjoy seeing the bare bones of your garden as you look forward to the sight of shoots and flowers just around the corner – Happy Gardening!