Archive for the ‘February’ Category


February Phobia – 2017

FLEECE YOUR FAVOURITES

I’m never quite sure if I like February or not, winter is slowing drawing to a close but spring hasn’t quite arrived and according to a number of weather watchers, it looks as though this February is going to get a bit chilly. The biting wind from the east, ‘good for neither man nor beast’, is going to make temperatures tumble and there’s a good chance of snow. On the plus side, the first snowdrops are out, the daffodils are romping away and we can now work until 5!

If the weather does take a turn for the worst, it is worth making plans now to ensure your tender plants are protected and don’t become winter casualties. This is quite simple and for most exotic plants, such as olives, Oleanders, palm trees and Cordylines, it just means wrapping them up in several layers of horticultural fleece. Horticultural fleece is widely available from garden centres and DIY stores and is a very important investment; after all it’s cheaper than buying new plants. Bubble wrap or old carpet can also work quite well but the trouble with bubble wrap is that it does allow moisture to build up around the stem which will make the plant prone to rotting if you leave it on too long.

With Cordylines it’s a good idea to bunch the leaves up together with your hands first and then loosely tie with soft twine. This will make fleecing them so much easier and effective. You will need to wrap the plant at least 4 or 5 times to do any good.

With bananas (Musa basjoo), as well as fleecing the stem, it is also worth protecting the base of the plant, by piling up extra compost or bark chips around it. This will add extra insulation to a tender part of the plant

If you have tree ferns then you will need to protect the crown, or the growing point of the plant. Do this by packing in straw or old newspaper into the top and then cover the whole thing with an old pot or bucket to keep the rain out.

A good tip for protecting tender plants with narrow stems is to use foam pipe lagging. This is available in different sizes and can be cut to size so that it fits snugly round the stem like a nice warm jacket.

If you have plants in pots then get someone to help you bring them in on the coldest nights, even if it’s just into the garage or shed.

As far as gardening jobs for February, there’s not an awful lot to do that won’t wait until March so unless we get some good sunny days and you want to get stuck in, keep warm and stay inside. There are some colourful plants starting to appear in the garden centres now so why not inject a bit of colour to lift your spirits. It’s also a good time to plant bare root hedging, as long as the grounds not frozen, and there are some great deals both online and in larger garden centres.

Spring isn’t too far away now……..

February gardening tips 2015 – It’s chilly!

Frost on Nandina Domestica

It’s a cold start to the month with a covering of snow here in North East Herts with more on the way. Thankfully, in this part of the country we haven’t yet had the really punishing temperatures (lowest so far this year -4 C in Bishop’s Stortford) that can cause major plant casualties. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t get any worse. If you have got snow settling on your shrubs give them a shake to make sure that the branches don’t break under the weight.

Frost on Uncinia rubra

As far as gardening jobs for February, there’s not an awful lot to do that won’t wait until March. Unless we get some good sunny days and it dries out enough for you to get stuck in, keep warm and dry and stay inside.

  1. Remember to feed the birds. Nuts and fat are better than bread. Putting out bread just encourages rats. Remember to clean your feeders regularly to stop any build up of bacteria.
  2. Give your roses a boost with a specialist rose feed to encourage more flowers and get some manure on the beds
  3. Cut back perennials to keep them tidy
  4. If the weather does take a turn for the worst remember to fleece any tender plants or bring them inside if you can.

    Plant bare root roses

  5. Continue planting bare-rooted roses, trees, shrubs and hedging plants. A much more economical way of buying plants. Especially good time of year to plant a native hedge. You can get some great deals either online or at your local garden centre. Great for bringing wildlife into the garden.
  6. Start thinking about which varieties of potato you are going to grow this year. You can soon start chitting them (encouraging them to grow shoots). Put them in a warm light spot inside and they will soon sprout allowing them a better start when you do plant them outside.
  7. Service your petrol lawn mowers and check your other tools are all in working order.
  8. General hygiene – Clean out your greenhouse (if you are not using it) and give any pots or seed trays a good clean and disinfect if you are going you reuse them
  9. Get ahead of yourself now by digging over any bare soil and breaking-up any clods to give you a fine crumbly seed bed in preparation for sowing.
  10. It’s still too early to sow most things outside but you could have a go at planting a few radishes, leeks or parsnips if you are really keen. Inside, you can start sowing a few tomatoes on your window sills to get an early start.
  11. Get some instant colour into your borders with primroses or hellebores. Hellebore ‘Cinnamon Snow’ is a real beauty!
  12. Think about sowing sweet peas under glass
  13. Still a good time to move plants in the garden before they wake up for spring.
  14. If you want to cheer yourself up, pop into your local garden centre as they’ve got a huge array of summer flowering bulbs, tubers and corms. Everything from gladioli to sparaxis and begonias to dahlias and of course a wonderful range of lilies. Personally, we recommend buying lilies loose; large firm bulbs, the bigger the bulb the bolder the flower! Dont forget you can always start off your dahlia tubers now in a warm greenhouse and take basal root cuttings in a month or so. (These are the shoots that come from the base of the old stem).
  15. Towards the end of the month think about putting black bins over your rhubarb to force an early crop.
February Tips – If it ever dries out!

What a shocking January we’ve just had, the wettest since records began. Lets hope February turns out to be a bit better. On the plus side, we’ve yet to have any really cold temperatures, the first snowdrops are out and we can now work until 5!

 

As far as gardening jobs for February, there’s not an awful lot to do that won’t wait until March.  Unless we get some good sunny days and it dries out enough for you to get stuck in, keep warm and dry and stay inside.

  1. Remember to feed the birds. Nuts and fat are better than bread. Putting out bread just encourages rats. Remember to clean your feeders regularly to stop any build up of bacteria.
  2. Give your roses a boost with a specialist rose feed to encourage more flowers and get some manure on the beds
  3. Cut back perennials to keep them tidy
  4. If the weather does take a turn for the worst remember to fleece any tender plants or bring them inside if you can.
  5. Continue planting bare-rooted roses, trees, shrubs and hedging plants. A much more economical way of buying plants. Especially good time of year to plant a native hedge. You can get some great deals either online or at your local garden centre. Great for bringing wildlife into the garden.
  6. Start thinking about which varieties of potato you are going to grow this year. You can soon start chitting them (encouraging them to grow shoots). Put them in a warm light spot inside and they will soon sprout allowing them a better start when you do plant them outside.
  7. Service your petrol lawn mowers and check your other tools are all in working order.
  8. General hygiene – Clean out your greenhouse (if you are not using it) and give any pots or seed trays a good clean and disinfect if you are going you reuse them
  9. Get ahead of yourself now by digging over any bare soil and breaking-up any clods to give you a fine crumbly seed bed in preparation for sowing.
  10. It’s still too early to sow most things outside but you could have a go at planting a few radishes, leeks or parsnips if you are really keen. Inside, you can start sowing a few tomatoes on your window sills to get an early start.
  11. Get some instant colour into your borders with primroses or hellebores. Hellebore ‘Cinnamon Snow’ is a real beauty!
  12. Think about sowing sweet peas under glass
  13. Still a good time to move plants in the garden before they wake up for spring.
  14. If you want to cheer yourself up, pop into your local garden centre as they’ve got a huge array of summer flowering bulbs, tubers and corms. Everything from gladioli to sparaxis and begonias to dahlias and of course a wonderful range of lilies. Personally, we recommend buying lilies loose; large firm bulbs, the bigger the bulb the bolder the flower! Dont forget you can always start off your dahlia tubers now in a warm greenhouse and take basal root cuttings in a month or so. (These are the shoots that come from the base of the old stem).
  15. Towards the end of the month think about putting black bins over your rhubarb to force an early crop.