So, here we are in the ‘Little Month’ already! How quickly this year is passing. Time to get seed potatoes chitting and sowing seeds. Hurrah! My favourite time as there is just so much to look forward to and this is such an optimistic time of year for gardeners. Also many questions … wondering if the weather will be sunny, wet, cold … will the tomatoes come up … have I enough hours in my day (never!!), what roses and climbers to buy, can I fit everything in (quarts and pint pots spring to mind!), why is Easter sooo early this year … but exciting times ahead.
February is traditionally the month when snowdrops appear, although I have seen them much earlier this year. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope when, according to legend, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end. An angel appeared and transformed some snowflakes into snowdrops proving that eventually winter does give way to spring. One of my favourites, which used to grow in great profusion in my Nana’s garden, is a beautiful double snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis – Flore Pleno). Snowdrops are best bought ‘in the green’, but do ensure that they are obtained from a reputable source and not ripped from the countryside, or pinched from a garden. Daughter Rachel works at a National Trust garden near Cambridge where they have one of the largest collections of snowdrops anywhere, and an annual Festival, which looks absolutely amazing. If you are around Cambridge, take a tour of Angelsey Abbey gardens, they are stunning!
We are still taking bookings for Sunday Lunch on March 4th. This month we shall be serving up Roast Beef with all the trimmings to be followed by my legendary Homemade Rice Pudding and Jam all for £9.95!
Weather permitting, there are still some things to get on with in February, so back to it!
THINGS TO DO IN FEBRUARY?
- Top up the food and water supplies for garden birds on a regular basis. Water is especially important if we have a cold spell.
- Apply organic-based fertilisers such as well-rotted manure to mature, permanent beds.
- If the weather allows continue to plant trees and shrubs.
- If newly planted trees and shrubs have been lifted by frost firm them back into the ground. Mulch with chipped bark to suppress weeds and keep them warm.
- Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering.
- If summer-flowering shrubs flowered on new wood, prune them back to promote new growth in the Spring.
- Prune hardy evergreen trees and shrubs.
- Prune jasmines and later-summer-flowering clematis.
- Top-dress or re-pot shrubs in containers.
- Prune off old stems of herbaceous perennials.
- Start dahlia tubers into growth by nestling into trays of moist compost. Once shoots are 3” tall they can be taken as cuttings to increase stock.
- Divide and re-plant snowdrops once they have finished flowering and setting seed.
- Bring the last of the spring bulbs being forced inside.
- Prepare seedbeds for vegetables (only if the ground is not waterlogged).
- Lime vegetable plots if necessary. Remember to rotate your plots annually.
- Continue planting fruit trees and bushes.
- Mulch fruit trees after feeding. Use chipped bark or good garden compost.
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO….
- Cut back overgrown shrubs and hedges before the nesting season starts.
- Finish pruning fruit such as raspberries and gooseberries. Mulch with organic matter and they will love you for it!
GET IN FRONT….
- Make sure that all pots and seed trays are clean.
- Check your stocks of pots, compost and labels.
- Check tools, equipment and plant supports are sound.
- Get tools such as spades and hoes sharpened for the coming season. Our lovely man will be here on 7th March and 4th April to get those tools well honed!