With February here, you may think your work in the garden is on pause until the spring arrives – but don’t be so sure, there is plenty to be done in order to have everything ready for the first flowers. To help plan your month, we have put together a list of helpful pointers for getting your garden ready for spring.
For those of with wonderful wisteria in your garden, you will need to prune it, cutting back the side shoots to 2-3 buds. Towards the end of the month, summer-flowering clematis will also need to be pruned before growth begins. Vines such as Ivy and Virginia creeper can be cut back in February to keep your windows and gutters clear.
Are you a lover of shrubbery? If you haven’t already, cut back any ornamental grass to a few centimetres above the ground before they start to grow. Shrubs such as cronus and salix cultivars will need to be cut down to their bases, which also needs to be done for winter flowering shrubs such as mahonia (after their colourful display has ended). Deciduous hedges should be cut back before any birds decide to nest in them.
Now onto flowers. If you have winter pansies, any faded flowers will have to be removed to stop them setting seed, which will encourage a flush of new flowers when the weather warms up. For those of you with snowdrops that are ‘still in the green’, you can move them around your garden to create new plants. Lillies and allium bulbs can also be planted now as well as bare root roses – making sure to choose a sunny location for the best display in summer.
It’s also time to plant or pot any hardwood cutting that you’ve taken. In addition, if you wish to move any deciduous plants, you’ll want to crack on and get it done now before they start to become dormant in spring.
For those of you with fruit and vegetable in the garden, you’ll be happy to know you can go ahead and plant rhubarb crowns this month – you can force these to grow for an earlier crop if you wish. Vegetable seeds such as leeks, onions and celeriac can now be sown under cover, and you can also prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Proceed to then keep the soil covered in preparation for the spring. If your garden has particularly heavy clay soil but want to make a start on an early vegetable garden, build raised beds before spring gets under way as these cause the soil to warm up faster and drain quicker. If you have autumn-fruiting raspberry canes cut them to the ground to stimulate new canes, which will then proceed to fruit in autumn. However if you have summer fruiting raspberry canes, only cut the tips just above the tips of their support, just above a bud.
Are fruit trees more your thing? Apple and pear trees will now need to be pruned whilst they are still dormant. If you have plum, cherry or apricot trees leave pruning until the summer, as pruning these now will make them susceptible to silver leaf. Blackcurrant, gooseberries and redcurrants bushes should be pruned to help them maintain a productive framework. Make sure to mulch your fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost, but be wary of not mulching to near the trunk.
Onto the finishing touches. Don’t be tempted to cut your lawns this month, instead try lawn edging to create a neat and tidy appearance and make lawn maintenance easier. Any wood prunings you may have can be added to a compost bin – just be sure to chop them down to smaller sizes as they are slow to decompose. If you haven’t already, install water butts in your garden in preparation for summer. Rainwater is great for acid-loving plants instead of the more alkaline tap water, so having a good supply ready now will help your plants to flourish in the summer.
We at Myhills hope you have found this blog helpful and if you have any questions or need help choosing which seeds or bulbs you’ll need for next month, feel free to call us and speak to one of our friendly staff. Alternatively drop by your local Myhills store where we will be pleased to talk to you face to face.