FebruaryAn exciting month full of expectation, spring bulbs are poking their heads up enthusiastically ready to show off their flowers and the snowdrops will be in full swing.
- This is the beginning of the gardening year proper and there are some key jobs to undertake now to allow you to appreciate your plants through the year.
- It is now the time to cut back deciduous grasses which have provided interest through the winter but if left will spoil the look of the fresh new growth. Cut back hard down to the base and rake out any loose older stems. In mature grasses now is also the time to divide, failing to do this can result in a plant with dead unproductive growth in the centre.
Examples of deciduous grasses include: Calamagrostis, Miscanthus and Panicum
- Evergreen grasses include: Stipa tenuissima, Anemanthele lessoniana, Carex and Festuca glauca. These only need combing through, they can tolerate a hard haircut once mature but only once in their lifetime. It is better to replace them after a few years Wisteria.
- This is the most important cut of the Wisterias’ year. It will make the difference as to whether your plant is full of flower or lush green growth. Underneath all the previous year’s growth are the stiffer shorter stems which will bear the flowers this year. Cut back the long spaghetti like stems that cover the plant to two buds only from the main stem. Be brave don’t leave a few extra buds to be sure, all you will get are masses of green leafy growth, two buds and no more. By doing this you are encouraging the plant to make more stubby stiff growth that will give you those beautiful, scented, racemes of flower.
- Roses Prune English shrub, Floribunda, Hybris teas, ground cover and patio Roses now. See our separate Rose pruning guide. In the flower border:
- Cut off the old leaves of Hellebores to expose the flowers and allow the new foliage to unfurl. This also helps to keep fungal diseases such as Hellebore leaf spot at bay.
- On a mild February day it’s time to go out and tidy up the border cutting back and tidying up overwintering perennials and splitting any which have outgrown the space.
- Dead head any winter bedding to keep it looking fresh and producing new flowers.
- Cut back group 3 Clematis now, these flower later in the year (July onwards) and include the Viticella group. Follow the plant back to the lowest pair of strong buds it will grow up taller and stronger for it and you won’t have a tangle of old brown stems in with the new.
- Cut back group 2 Clematis now too, these are the earlier summer flowering plants (May/June) the aim with these is not to cut to the lowest bud but to check each stem down to the next strong pair of buds forming a frame work of older wood, if you cut down too far you risk losing the flowers.
- Divide large clumps of Snowdrops now as they go over.
- Stock up on summer flowering bulbs and Tubers now, they are in stock and choice varieties sell out fast. Have a look at varieties in more detail in our Pots and Containers section.
- You can start overwintering Dahlias into growth now. Allow them to sprout in a warm light spot before you plant them up.
Varieties of these Vegetables are in stock now to choose from; Asparagus, Onion, Shallot Garlic Potatoes.
Cut back you autumn fruiting Raspberries now to ground level.
- Summer flowering bulbs are now in stock and many of these are very suitable for displays in pots. Make your choices now in readiness for planting up at the end of March Dahlia - these fabulous blooms once seen as old fashioned and blousy are now the height of fashion and you can achieve a stunning display for a small outlay and an unassuming corm. Lilies - including Calla lilies and Arum Lilies. Crocosmia - Emily McKenzie and George Davidson are particularly well suited to growing in a container. Acidanthera - which is a relative of the Gladioli but has a more delicate white flower with a lovely scent. Polianthes (Tuberosa) - this is a highly scented white flower well worth considering particularly on a balcony where you will really appreciate the fragrance. For now then Hellebores make a lovely statement in a pot, the Ericsmithii varieties such as Penny’s Pink, Moonbeam, Anna’s Red and pirouette have been bred to hold their heads up nice and high so you can really appreciate the flowers. Allium oreophilum - these June flowering Alliums are a beautiful delicate addition to the summer display, looser in form to the more structural, purple, flowering Alliums. Combine with summer bedding in a container or plant up as a single display.
• Renovation work can begin now, prepare any areas you feel need work so you are ready for the milder weather and longer day lengths when you can start sowing grass seed.
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
Click on one of the other months below to see what you can look forward to