February is the month which should signal the end of Winter, when we can all start preparing for Spring and enjoy being out in our gardens more often, as the weather permits.

Plants to buy or enjoy this month

Shrubs: Early flowering Camelias, Jasminum nudiflorum (winter flowering Jasmine), Garrya elliptica (also known as the Silk Tassel tree)

Perennials & Bulbs: Hellebores, native Primroses, Pulmonaria. Also early Daffodils, Crocuses and Aconites.

General Garden maintenance

• If snow falls, knock it off evergreen shrubs & conifers to prevent branches snapping or bowing under the weight
• Firm back down any plants that have been lifted by frost
• Put garden compost or well-rotted manure on beds and fork it in
• Clear away old plant debris from pond margins and scoop out any leaves that have fallen into the water
• Spread a layer of well-rotted manure around roses and shrubs
• Install a nest box with a camera, so you can watch birds raising their young in Spring

Flowerbeds & Pots

• Cut down deciduous ornamental grasses left standing over winter, before fresh shoots appear
• Divide large clumps of snowdrops and Winter aconites after flowering and replant to start new colonies
• Divide congested clumps of herbaceous perennials and grasses to make vigorous new plants for free
• Move dormant deciduous shrubs growing in the wrong place
• Pot up containers with hardy spring bedding, such as primroses, wallflowers and forget-me-nots
• Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around the base of roses and other flowering shrubs

white daisy flowers


• Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses, before growth restarts
• Prune late-summer flowering clematis, cutting stems back to healthy buds about 30cm from the base
• Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers if they have outgrown their space, before birds start nesting
• Prune winter-blooming shrubs such as mahonia & winter jasmine after they’ve flowered
• Cut back wisteria side shoots to three buds, to encourage abundant flowers in spring
• Give winter heathers a light trim after flowering, removing shoot tips but not cutting back into old wood
• Prune buddleia and elder down to 1m or to the base to keep these vigorous shrubs to a reasonable size
• Cut away all the old foliage from epimediums with shears, before the spring flowers start to develop
• Finish winter-pruning fruit trees and soft fruits, including apples, autumn raspberries and blackcurrants

Yellow secateurs


• Remove any faded or yellowing leaves from overwintering plants
• Wash greenhouse glazing inside and out to let in more light
• Sow sweet peas in deep pots and keep them frost-free in a greenhouse and pinch out Autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage side shoots
• Sow summer bedding and tender annuals, including cosmos, lobelia, dahlias, nasturtiums and snapdragons
• Sow tender crops such as tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator
• Plant dahlia tubers in trays to encourage shoots to develop
• Start planting summer bulbs in pots indoors, including begonias, gloxinias, lilies and agapanthus
• Cut back overwintered fuchsias and start watering them sparingly to encourage new growth