We are only one month away from Spring and with the weather being so incredibly mild it’s a fantastic time to have a poke round the garden! There is so much to be done and most days it’s actually pretty pleasant, I’ve been able to garden some days without my coat on! If you’re quick, you still have time to get a head start in the garden before the spring arrives – and the weeds.
There is a lot of cutting back to be done if you haven’t already, a lot of plants may still be hanging on (I have some Gaura that hasn’t completely died back) but there is new growth now and they will look much better in the summer if cut back now – you can always give plants some feed to help them on their way.
Slow-release fertiliser granules are good, but just a nice thick coating of compost around the base of the plant will help. Clearing away dying foliage that may have looked good a month or so ago will help to show off your bulbs which will be emerging now, as well as ensuring they have the light and space they need to grow and flower well.
I’ve been enjoying the daffodils and grape hyacinths that are now flowering – and watching the tulips and hyacinths shoot up.
As pruning shrub roses is coming to an end, we can start cutting back Buddleias and Dogwoods.
It’s best to leave Dogwoods for the first few years after planting but as soon as they start getting to an impressive size, pruning them down to about 10cm will ensure you keep getting beautiful coloured stems each winter and will keep a check on their growth – they can become enormous! Buddleias can be cut back hard too but best to take them back only to about knee height.
When pruning, make sure your tools are sharp and clean, ready for action. A quick swipe of the blades with Jeyes is good and cleaning your greenhouse and pots now will help to keep down mould, especially important as it’s one of the big reasons seedlings fail.
One of the cheapest ways of boosting your stock of plants is by sowing seeds and there are so many to choose from. Good ones to start off with would be Cosmos, Calendula and Hollyhocks. Buy your seeds in now so you have them ready when you want to sow them.
Good luck and…
Jobs for February:
- Divide and plant bulbs that need to be planted when in leaf (what is known as ‘in the green’) like snowdrops
- Cut off raggedy, old Hellebore leaves at the base
- Top up pots with a fresh layer of compost – take some of the old compost out if you need to make room for it
- Keep dead-heading your winter bedding
- Other plants to cut back: Wisteria (shorten side shoots to a few buds), Winter Jasmine and Virginia Creeper (cut them back to a nice framework), just lightly trim back heather by taking the ends off.
- Weed, weed, weed!