Garden In February – If you look carefully you will start to see the first signs of spring in the garden this month. Catkins appear on trees, the first bulbs start to poke their heads trough the soil and a few brave flowers begin to appear. With January over, gardeners begin to look forward to spring. But this month can be slow to develop in the garden, so use the time to finish those winter jobs still left to do. Here are the main jobs you should be getting on with this month in the garden and a few of the plants that will be looking their best this early in the year.
General garden tasks in February
Lime acid soil in readiness for planting brassicas in spring to prevent club root. Make sure that you finish off winter digging, although as February tends to be on the wet side this may prove difficult. Now is also the time to create any new borders or beds in the garden and a time to order plants, particularly plug plants. Prepare for the busy season ahead by cleaning out water storage barrels, watering cans, pots and seed trays.
Jobs in the flower bed
Cut back old dead stems of perennials in herbaceous borders. You might also want to divide old clumps of herbaceous perennials by digging them up, dividing them with a spade or fork and then re-planting the smaller clumps you have made around the garden. Prune winter Jasmine and cut back buddleia to low growing emerging shoots. Now is also the time to plant lily-of-the-valley crowns.
Pruned winter Jasmine
Jobs in the greenhouse
If the weather is not too cold, start dahlia tubers and lily bulbs into growth in the greenhouse. On sunny days ventilate the greenhouse by opening the windows and door, but make sure you water over-wintered plants as little as possible. Clean greenhouse glass to kill of any remaining pests and diseases and to make the most of the winter light. Sow early vegetables such as lettuce, leeks, onions, peas and broad beans in pots. Chit potatoes by standing them in trays in a light but frost-free position.
The vegetable garden
Prepare the soil for early sowing and cover with polythene sheeting to warm it up. Now is the time to plant shallots and Jerusalem artichokes. Finish pruning fruit trees and soft fruit canes and feed with sulphate of potash.
As this month tends to see a lot of rainfall, make sure you keep off the lawn as much as possible. However, if the weather is mild and dry you might be able to mow the grass on a high blade setting.
Plants to look out for in February
You may have seen the first signs of them in January, but now is when snowdrops come into their own. They share this month with winter aconites which poke their sunny yellow heads above the ground about now. Primroses or primula vulgaris are one of the earliest wildflower to show in the garden. Happy to grow in partial shade, their delicate lemon colored flowers will grace the ground underneath trees or on grassy banks. You can also buy cultivated varieties as bedding plants this month. They come in a variety of colors and will cheer up any garden planters you have empty on a patio. Bergenia or elephant’s ears also in flowers this month. Bright pink flowers on tall stems emerge from large fleshy green leaves. Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ or twisted hazel looks lovely in February, when fluffy yellow catkins appear on its twisted stems. Hellebores are also a must for this month to improve your garden.