Although we are in the height of winter the nights are drawing out and spring will soon be with us… jobs in the garden are weather permitting but here are some that can be done this month.
Remember to gently knock any freshly fallen snow from greenhouses and conservatories, also from any trees, shrubs and particularly conifers to stop the weight from splitting the foliage or freezing the plant.
Check that all fibre fleece is securely covering any tender plants and that those in pots and containers are raised off the ground either by pot feet or bricks.
Improve drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter and course grit.
Top dress beds and borders with fish blood and bone, bonemeal or growmore.
Add new grit to your rockery and remove any leaves or debris that have gathered around the plants and trim back any autumn flowering varieties.
Cut leaves from helleborus to expose the flowers.
At the end of the month divide clumps of snowdrops .
Pruning and Planting
Prune back your rose bushes, cut out any dead or diseased wood or weak growth.
Cut back late summer to autumn flowering clematis to about 12 inches, it may seem severe but it will soon regrow to its original height and flower freely.
Prune deciduous shrubs which are grown for their stem colour such as dogwood (cornus) this will ensure a better display this coming autumn, and cut back winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering.
Also prune hardy evergreen hedges, wisteria. buddleja, lavatera and hardy fuchsias and trim back deciduous grasses such as miscanthus that were left uncut over winter.
Continue to force rhubarb using large unturned pots over the corm to encourage early growth.
The Season Ahead
Some Bedding plants such as lobelia, impatiens and geraniums benefit from early sowings but require heat to survive.
Gladioli and freesia corms will soon be available to purchase and you can plant sweet pea seeds with a little warmth and protection.
Over wintered fuchsias can be started into active growth by re-potting, increasing watering and feeding with a slow release fertilizer, place them in a sunny frost free place.
Get your mower serviced and garden tools sharpened ready for the coming season.
The birds will probably have exhausted the supply of natural berries from holly, pyracantha and cotoneaster bushes by now so it is necessary to give them nutritious food, certain seed mixes contain mealworm and suet, some even insects and berries. Hang out suet balls and don’t forget to provide them with a supply of water.
Keep off frozen lawns or if they become water logged aid drainage by aerating them with a garden fork.
Look out for increased mole activity due to February being mating and nesting season, tread down raised areas and reseed in the spring.
Plant of the Month
Polyanthus: These plants give great colour from late winter onwards. They can be used to cheer up pots, borders and even wall troughs. Some people find it difficult to see the difference between polyanthus and primroses but the general visible difference is that polyanthus flowers appear on one sturdy stem whereas primroses have one flower per small stem. Team them with potted narcissi or crocus.
Have potatoes on your patio!! You will be amazed at how many potatoes you will get from just one root. Buy yourself a pack of two potato bags and give it a go. The bags have a side flap so you can harvest them easily and you can reuse them year after year. Two or three spuds in each bag will provide you with many meals. So purchase your seed potatoes now and chit them for planting around the end of April.