This is the month when your garden begins to show promising signs of waking up and getting ready for spring.
If you’ve planted spring bulbs, or already had some in the ground, the chances are they’re sprouting already, giving a little hint of what is soon to come.
In my garden, there’s lots of signs of what’s to come. I can see lots of my bulbs, including daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and muscari, all shooting up. It’s exciting to go out and look to see how the plants are changing week by week – spotting new buds and new growth.
With the weather still pretty cold and the ground still wet and muddy, the amount of real gardening you can do may still be limited.
It’s also important for keen gardeners to be patient in February. If we’re lucky enough to have a few nice, sunny and unseasonably warm days and you can start thinking spring has arrived early. But don’t get too carried away – March can still bring with it some very cold and wintery weather, so don’t start planting out plants that won’t survive if temperatures plummet again.
But there are still some tasks which you can engross yourself in, and here are some suggestions to keep you happily pottering in the garden this February.
Get more snowdrops in your garden
If you’re lucky enough to already have snowdrops growing, you can divide the clumps and replant them now for a bigger spread next year. Alternatively, buying snowdrops ‘in the green’ now and planting them is an easier route to success than planting bulbs, which can be hit and miss.
Cut back ivy, climbers and hedges before birds begin nesting
If you have ivy, Virginia creeper or other climbers that you want to cut back a little, now is the time to do it, before our feathered friends decide to make them home in a few weeks time. If you have a Group 3 clematis (the late-flowering type which blooms from summer to end of autumn) now is a good time to prune these back too, before they start their spring growth. As this type of clematis only flowers on new growth, you can afford to cut back old stems vigorously.
Give your roses their first feed of the year
A little slow-release fertiliser around your roses at this time of year will set them in good stead for the year ahead – the same goes for other flowering shrubs. If you didn’t prune the roses in November, you can do it now.
Enjoy some winter colour
If you simply can’t wait for the spring bulbs to bloom, you can still bring a bit of colour to the garden. It’s not too late to create your own winter planters, filled with hardy spring bedding plants including wallflowers, primroses and forget-me-nots. If you have Hellebores in your garden, they’ll be at their peak this month. Remember to cut off any large leaves that are stopping you from seeing the flowers in all their glory. Not only will you see them better, they’ll actually unfurl their petals more easily without lots of leaves in the way.
Plant some summer bulbs and add more roses
Now is a good time to plant some summer bulbs for easy flowering later. Get planting lily, agapanthus and allium bulbs. February is also a good time to plant out bare-root roses (one the soil is a little drier). Make sure you add lots of well-rotted manure or compost and water well after planting.
Sow some early seeds – if you have somewhere to keep them warm
If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse, or enough space on a windowsill indoors, you can start sowing seeds such as sweet peas, lobelia, chrysanthemums, geraniums. If you want to grow your own, you can start sowing cucumber and tomato seeds, peas, aubergines and leeks. If you want to really kick-start your seeds, why not invest in a heated mat to get them off to a really strong start?
Neaten up your lawn
It’s probably way too wet and muddy to mow just yet, but you could still give your lawn some attention just by trimming the edges or even installing some lawn edging. It’s amazing the difference nice straight edges can make to the appearance of your borders! You could also rake up any leaves that are in the garden. But bear in mind, if the lawn is really waterlogged, then try not to walk on it too much or you might cause damage.
Deadheading time for hydrangeas
In late February or early March the time has finally come to take the heads off last year’s hydrangea plants. If you’ve followed the advice and left the heads on over winter then well done, that has protected the plant from the worst effects of winter.
Keep feeding the birds
February can be the month when birds and small mammals are at their hungriest. Don’t forget to put out something for them to eat – this will also help prevent them eating any of your bulbs or buds, too. You could also consider putting up some nest boxes ready for when birds begin looking for cosy places to build their nests in the coming weeks.
Do the boring, but important jobs
It’s a good time to check your gutters, which may have become blocked with moss, muck and leaves. If you have a compost heap, anything you clear out of the gutters can go on the pile. If you have a greenhouse, let some air circulate on sunnier days, this will help get rid of any spores and mildews that might otherwise cause disease in your plants later on.
About the author:
My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Newton-le-Willows News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy growing flowers in my small garden in Lowton but I do dabble with the occasional edible, too! You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.