What a wonderful month February is!! For a start it's a short month, only 28 days (unless like this year when there are 29) so it will race by and we'll soon be in to March when the gardening year really begins. However, why do I say it's a wonderful month, well of course Snowdrops and Winter Aconites what wonderful cheery flowers they are, try to visit some of the wonderful gardens open for Snowdrop walks.
On to our gardening tips for February, and you will see they are highlighted under specific headings, hopefully making it easier for you to follow.
SHRUBS AND TREES:
February is a great month to wrap up warm and get out into the garden and carry out some key pruning projects.
Wisterias are pruned shortening all of the Summer side shoots back to 2-3 buds.
Clematis in particular the Summer flowering types are pruned back, look out for the newly developing buds about 18-24” from the base and cut back all top growth to these buds.
Coloured stemmed Cornus and Salix can be cut back hard to 2-3 buds above the older growth, but my suggestion is wait towards the end of the month to get as much pleasure as you can from the brightly coloured twigs.
Top ff all the old dead foliage from ornamental grasses.
Trim over winter flowering heathers as they finish flowering.
It's a good time to plant bare rooted trees and shrubs particularly roses. But don't plant in to frozen soil
Plant new Rhubarb crowns and you can begin forcing established ones
Mulch perennial vegetable such as Artichokes.
Begin chitting early potatoes, stand in trays or egg boxes in a bright frost free place.
Onions and leek seed can be sown under cover
Out on the veg patch you can lay black polythene or fleece or put out cloches. This will help to dry out the soil and warm it up ready for early sowings next month. We'll tell you more in March.
Plant new raspberry canes
Prune Autumn fruiting raspberry’s, cutting back all canes to ground level to stimulate new canes
Finish pruning Apples and Pears whilst still dormant
Prune Black and Red Currants and Gooseberries to develop or maintain an open framework
If you have stone fruits such as Apricots, Peaches etc. consider draping fleece over the bushes to protect the early flower buds from frost.
Although it is likely that we'll get some bright and milder days, don't be tempted on working on the lawn too early. It is much better to wait until March to start Lawn work. We'll tell you more in our March tips
Finalize your seed order
Continue putting feed out for the birds, especially fat balls
Why not install a water but to collect rain water, which is great for watering ericaceous plants.