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Mzzzz B's February Garden Blog

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Mzzzz B's February Garden Blog.

January has been a difficult month for our gardens, temperatures up and down, somehow the plants seem to be managing this, even if we aren't! The snowdrops continue to flower, winter aconites, hellebores, crocus are coming, cyclamen coum, iris unguicularis, and catkins all resist the snow and ice, and bring colour and interest to the winter garden. Spring is around the corner and the garden will wake up at some point!

  • If you have bought bare root plants, which are cheaper than containerised plants then they need urgent attention when you get them home, put them in a bucket of water for an hour to give it a drink, then either plant immediately or heel in — this means digging a trench or hole in a spare piece of ground and burying the roots to protect them. Plant in their final position when it suits you!
  • If you have ordered seed potatoes then this is the time to start chitting them, put them in a frost free light place for knobbly shoots to grow, this means the potato will grow away quickly when you do plant it out in March or April. It is traditionally around Easter but that is late this year!
  • You can sow broad beans in pots indoors or a cool greenhouse to germinate, growing them on and planting out in April. I find this a better method than sowing in the autumn.
  • This is also the time to start sowing tomatoes, but sow a few at a time, as they need to be grown on in heat, a sunny windowsill would be fine.
  • You could also sow some salad seeds, like rocket and winter lettuces, Winter Density and Rouge d'Hiver and grow them on in an unheated greenhouse.
  • Mid February — prune roses, Clematis and late flowering shrubs such as buddleia. The simple rule with Clematis is that if it flowers before June do not prune! Tidy them up after flowering. The later flowering clematis which flower after midsummers day (June 24th) produce their flower buds on new shoots, so these you can cut hard back, right down to a decent sized bud about a foot above ground. After pruning mulch with compost, this will feed the plant but also conserve moisture.
  • Philadelphus- Mock orange, Deutzia and flowering currants, all flower on last years wood, so need pruning after flowering.
  • Photographs of hellebore orientalis hybrid, and iris unguicularis.

If you want to get more detailed advice about gardening, I tend to look at Monty Don's blog online, and I am an avid reader of Alys Fowler in the Guardian and Alan Jenkins in the Observer, the Telegraph also has very good gardening articles and advice!

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