It’s all starting in February’s garden!
Hope you are all keeping well?
Well, we’ve certainly had a mixed bag of weather over the past month with heavy rain, high winds and frozen ground, making it difficult to get out into the garden. Fortunately, the last couple of weeks have been much drier with us in Lincolnshire, which has helped the garden to dry out and allowed us to get out and start some work in the borders.
In the garden we’ve finally cleared a birch tree that was felled and the log store is now full for next year. We’ve also in the process of clearing lots of ivy that’s covered areas of the garden. We have ivy everywhere, which considering our house is called Ivy Cottage, is fitting, but it’s a bit out of control and needs taming. While clearing, we’ve uncovered an old pond that’s been filled with rubble, and a large number of large rocks and stone paving that was once part of a pond and rock garden feature. My plan is to re-use the stone paving and as much of the rock as possible around the garden to create a low wall.
We’ve also been busy pruning an old apple tree. It’s a Bramley that was part of an orchard around the cottage back in the days when it had several acres. It’s a grand old tree that I reckon is around 80-100 years old, but several years ago it was badly pruned down to stumps. As a result, it made very strong regrowth and was very dense and overcrowded. It took a day to sort out, but it’s now been thinned out, all the dead old stumps trimmed back and reduced in height and width. It already looks much better and with extra summer pruning it will make a lovely specimen tree, which will hopefully bear plenty of apples for years to come. The video of it being pruned is on Pots & Trowels on YouTube and FB if you fancy a look!
So, we have plenty to keep us busy in the garden over the coming weeks but, now we’re in February it’s snowdrop time and we are planning to get out and about to visit a couple of local open gardens. It’s a great way to pick up some ideas and inspiration for our garden, with the added bonus that they also serve tea and cakes!
Jobs for February
Check permanent outdoor containers with shrubs and evergreens in to make sure the compost in the pot is moist, as the canopy of foliage can act like an umbrella. It’s also a good idea to scrape off the top couple of inches of compost and top-dress with fresh compost and a little fertiliser.
Now is a good time to carry out any repairs to the lawn, by patching in worn or bare patches with turf. It’s also a good time to reshape or straighten edges.
Mid-February is the time to prune back late summer flowering clematis in group three. These are the ones that flower from late July to September. All growth can be cut back to 6-10inches from ground level. New buds will grow to form long stems that will flower later in the year.
Aim to finish planting bare root trees and roses by the end of the month, to give the roots time to start growing before the leaves develop.
Established clumps of herbaceous perennials can be lifted and divided to make more plants and to give them renewed vigour.
Finish pruning fruit bushes while they are still dormant. With blackcurrants remove some of the oldest, wood growth at the base and for gooseberries and redcurrants, shorten long stems and thin congested growth.
Pots of mint can be knocked out, the roots divided and re-potted in fresh compost to ensure strong growth this summer.
If you intend to plant some new potatoes in late March or early April, mid-February is the time to start them off by chitting. Stand the seed potatoes in trays in a light, cool place to allow the eyes to sprout and develop into new shoots.
Towards the end of February, autumn fruiting raspberries can be pruned down to ground level. Weed along the row and then apply a few inches of compost as a mulch.
Tomatoes and peppers can be sown in small pots and placed into a propagator to geminate.
One final reminder. If you haven’t ordered your seeds yet, hurry up as some seed companies are already selling out of certain varieties!
For more weekly gardening tips and advice from Martin visit “Pots & Trowels” on Facebook or subscribe on YouTube for free, plus our new weekly gardening podcast available from your normal podcast provider or www.potsandtrowels.com