This year, I think many of us will be relieved that our bitterly cold and wet January is drawing to a close, so let’s look forward to February knowing that we are edging ever-closer to the magical Springtime.
As long as we don’t get another “Beast from the East” or a deluge of snow, a lot can be achieved in your garden during February on days when the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged.
You can now plant bare-root trees and shrubs in their final positions. Similarly, you can move or plant ‘in-the-green’ snowdrops (snowdrops with just leaves) so they will give you a beautiful show of white flowers in a week or so. This is also a good month for planting shallots, raspberries and blackberry canes, if weather and soil conditions permit.
Make sure the frosts haven’t lifted newly-planted trees and shrubs, firm the soil around them gently with your foot if required.
If you didn’t get a chance to prune your hedges last Autumn, February is a great time to do this. Deciduous garden hedges can all be cut back fairly hard now.
You can also cut back deciduous grasses, ideally down to 15-20cm before new shoots emerge and also deadhead any winter bedding plants for bushier displays later in the year.
If you have cleared off the old growth from your perennials and your flowerbeds are quite tidy, you can apply a top dressing of blood fish and bone or other granular fertiliser around the plants and gently fork this into the soil.
Although it seems very early in the year, if the weather permits, you can plant your sweet pea seeds outside where you wish them to flower but they may need to be protected with cloches. Alternatively, plant some seeds in a few plant pots in the greenhouse or on the windowsill so they can be planted out later in the spring.
You can get a lot of ideas for your summer garden from gardening magazines or seed catalogues, maybe finding some new varieties of striking annuals for your pots or hanging baskets. So, on any wet and cold February days, they may be worth a browse!
These tips were kindly contributed by local resident Cara MacColl