12th February 2018
Fabulous Freezing February
February brings sun, snow and freezing temperatures but in amongst all this, is a fabulous splash of white peeking through the leaves from snow drops, and a piercing purple of a cyclamen under the magnolia tree, Spring has sprung. The garden may lack its summer charm but now the true bones of the garden are revealed. The shapes and silhouettes form wonderful structures which echoes a good design. So if structure is lacking whether it be a bean pole or a section of rough grass with bulbs or a neatly clipped hedge these things can be added along with textural interest from foliage like the silver leaves of the Cotten lavender ‘Santolina champ. ‘nana’ or add a stunning white bark tree with architectural shape and uniformity like the Betula Utilis. Jacquemontii or Silver Birch as commonly known.
However the weeds have started growing, so pick a nice sunny day, wrap up and go out in the garden.
JOBS TO DO
Cut back any deciduous grasses, taking care not to damage the new green growth and herbaceous perennials left for winter.
Continue pruning back the Wisteria to 2/3 buds
Finish pruning back climbing and rambling roses, and bush roses can be pruned towards the end of the month. For those hands that are now dry and cold which require a little rehydration we are running a wonderful ‘Winter Home made Lotions & Scubs’ this coming February 23 so come make that special gift for mothers day or keep for your self.
Continue planting any bare-root trees/shrubs, we have until end of March to get them in the ground.
If trees or shrubs are in need of pruning now is also a good time to do this, along with top tips next month on how to get the best colour from your Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) plants and what wonderful things we can make with these canes. Check out Aprils ‘Plant Support’ and ‘Wild Basket Weaving’ courses.
My fig tree is also looking at me unwilling to surrender any of its off-spring to the winter but there is definitely an art to producing the best fruit, so hopefully next summer I might see a good result.
Firstly figs produce two crops per season, but our summer is not long enough. So prune figs in November in milder areas and wait till spring in colder areas. In November remove all dead, old, crossing wood and keep the centre open. In summer remove the growing tips of half the young stems as this will encourage more side shoots which will bear fruit the following year. But fruit that forms in spring cannot ripen before Autumn so they need removing. The tiny figs that are produced near the ends of the young branches in late summer will usually overwinter and ripen the following summer so keep these on. Fig chutney here we come….
THE VEG PATCH
Start warming the soil and keep the weeds down by covering the soil with polythene or cloches, and a few bricks!
Prune back the autumn fruiting Raspberry canes to ground level. See January Jobs for a money making idea.
Sow Vegetables such as broad beans, leeks, onions and salad under cover for early outdoor planting.
FAVOURITE FEBRUARY PLANTS
The dazzling shades of spring flowering Crocus on mass under a tree is hard to beat so try C. Ruby Giant.
Helleborus Foetidus is also know as ‘stinking hellebore’, unfairly, but I think its beautiful elegant lime green bell shaped flowers make up for this ….. Height 60cm, and likes dryish soil in sun/shade.
A good tree for a difficult space is Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’. Flowers from autumn to spring and is a a joy to see. A small tree which can grow to 8 meters on sun/shade.