I’d like to put a good word in for the garden in February.
It may feel a little like everything is on hold waiting for the warmth and the extra daylight of Spring, but there’s lots going on out there, right now.
Although not in such abundance as high summer, there are plenty of flowers and scents in the garden in February, the Daphne flowers are looking beautiful and smelling equally good.
Hellebores are flowering and the Sarcococca (Christmas Box) continues to push out its’ heady perfume by the front door.*
But enough of the joys of a February garden, there are things to be getting on with in the milder spells.
Cut back deciduous grasses like Calamagrostis Karl Foerster to a few inches above the ground as soon as the green shoots start appearing. I left it a bit late one year and ended up cutting the new growth along with the old.
Prepare for planting seeds in the garden next monthly pulling out dead remains of old plants. This leaves a clear space to spread a layer of well-rotted compost over bare soil before everything starts growing again, it’s good to replenish the soil, it also:
- discourages weeds, though a 4in/10cm thick layer is needed to do the job properly
- the soil improver also adds structure to the soil so water doesn’t escape easily, perfect for light sand soils. It’s also helps heavy soils to drain too.
Clean out the greenhouse to get it ready for all that seed-sowing:
- emptying any old compost from plant pots straight onto the garden. Old plant growth goes into the compost bin.
- sweep up the floor of all that debris
- wash out plant pots in warm soapy water, a dunk and a swish is all that’s needed, to clear out spores that hang around spreading diseases to baby plants and seedlings.
This lovely greenhouse was built in a garden I designed.
Prune wisteria now to keep the vigorous growth in check and encourage it to make lots of flowers. It’s easy to see what you’re doing without all the leaves, just cut the side-stems that grow off the main stem back leaving just three buds on them. All the long whippy growth needs cutting back in August.
*Strictly speaking, it’s no longer my front door because we moved house a week ago, but I’ll definitely be planting more Sarcococca in the new garden.
Have a look here if you’d like to know more about growing Daphnes or Sarcococca in your garden.
Next week I’ll be posting about what to do in the allotment or vegetable patch in February.
all photos: Jill Anderson