With Winter’s passing and Spring’s imminent arrival, February is a month for tidying and preparation in the garden.
If you haven’t already shortened your roses, you should do so now. Begin by cutting out any damaged or crossing branches. The remaining branches can then be shortened by approximately half. Remember to prune to an outward facing bud and to cut at a 45° angle away from the bud. For larger stems use a Quality Loppers its makes pruning easy.
Now is the time to clear your flowerbeds of weeds before they have time to fully establish. All perennials should have their spent flowers removed and dead or damaged leaves removed. Your ornamental grasses should be tidied by removing any dead leaves. You could also consider lifting and dividing your herbaceous perennials – if your soil isn’t too wet. This will give you the opportunity to see what space is available for your summer bedding. A garden leaf rake makes the job so much easier.
Summer bedding can be started off from Collection of flower seeds If you don’t have space for a greenhouse, a sunny window sill is just fine. Cover your seed trays with a lid or even a plastic bag or clingfilm to help retain heat and moisture in those first critical weeks of germination.
Remember to lift the lid every day or two to allow some air circulation and remove the lid fully once the seedlings start to emerge. The garland windowsill propagator is a brilliant easy to use heated propagator that is ideal for sprouting seeds.
With all the wind we have had this winter, don’t forget to check on your Climbers as you tidy around the garden making sure they are still firmly tied to the wall or trellis. Group 3 climbers (those that flower from mid-summer to autumn) can be cut back quite hard at this time. Groups 1 and 2 flower on last year’s growth and should ideally be pruned after flowering although you can prune lightly to remove congestion or damaged shoots.
For those who love to grow their own, now is the time to prepare this year’s vegetable planting areas. Make sure they are weed-free and cover the prepared area to help keep the soil temperature raised. If you haven’t started your first Early Potatoes yet, now is the time to get going. Chit/sprout your seed potatoes by placing them in a bright but frost free area (use an old egg carton to hold each seed potato while the sprouts develop).
They are ready for planting when the sprout is about 3cm (1in) long and this will take about 4 weeks. Chitting gives a good head start to the potato plant allowing for earlier cropping.
Apple and pear trees should also be pruned during winter. Always apply a winter wash after pruning to treat the larvae/eggs of pests over-wintering on your fruit trees. You should also remove old and damaged wood from your raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
If you haven’t planted your bare-root Hedging yet, you should do so immediately. Planting at this time gives the roots time to settle in before the plant starts its leaf growth later in the spring. Make sure to use a general fertiliser, such as Osmo Pro 6 , when planting.
Having cared for the outdoor plants don’t forget to look after the indoor ones too. As the temperature starts to rise and the daylight hours lengthen you should start to gradually increase your watering of indoor plants. Remember to wipe the leaves with a clean damp soft cloth to keep them dust free.