At last – even if we have a late snow episode – life will start to stir in your garden. From bulb shoots to blossoms, wildlife and longer days, there is an awakening taking place. So grab your gloves (and possibly a scarf!), head out into your garden and tackle some February tasks!
Wisteria, Bougainvillea, hardy evergreen hedges and winter flowering shrubs (once they’ve finished flowering) should all now be pruned, ready for the year ahead. When pruning, start by removing dead or dying branches. Once they have been removed, you can look at the plant as a whole to see where else to prune.
Apple and pear trees can be pruned, as they are dormant at the moment, but don’t prune cherry, plum and apricot trees until the summer.
Vines can be cut back, particularly around windows, doors, eaves and guttering, which will help keep these areas clear later in the year.
Do feed any plants that have been pruned as they will need a bit of support and energy.
Now is a good time to plant shrubs, hedging and trees. Don’t forget to add protection against rabbits immediately!
Cut back any dead ornamental grasses and prune where necessary.
Check fixings and ties, and that protection is still holding as there may still be a risk of frost. Weed and keep the ground clear of any fallen leaves, branches, twigs, or any other detritus that may have blown in.
Don’t forget the greenhouse – is your insulation still holding? If you get any sunny days, it’s a great opportunity to open the vents and allow moisture to escape instead of building up inside.
Give your pots a little boost by adding some new compost – remove some from the pots if necessary and top up those pots.
If the ground is not frozen or too wet, it’s a great time to lay turf. Remind everyone not to walk on freshly-laid turf for a good few weeks as it needs time to establish its roots.
Roses can be planted, taking care not to plant where another rose has been resident as diseases can be transferred in this way.
Sweet peas can be sown in a cold frame, under cloches or in the garage or other cold room of your house. To speed up germination, soak the seeds in tepid water overnight before planting. You can also sow cucumber, leeks, brassicas, aubergine and tomato under cover.
If you have any fruit trees that are starting to bloom, give them some protection from the frost, but allow access for insects needed in the pollination process.
February is generally a bit wet, so if you don’t have one, install a water butt to start collecting water for the summer.
Make the most of a rainy day by organising your seeds into planting date order and planning out your vegetable patch by rotating your crops to minimise diseases building up in the soil.