Advice Tips and Jobs for February

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Advice, Tips and Jobs for February

 

by Howard Drury

 

Most of January 2020 saw exceptionally mild weather after but a few days of typically raw cold mid winter weather. This coupled with the cooler than normal autumn and start to the winter makes for some really mixed up plants, some of which are months out of season. It has also upset wildlife patterns with several sightings of active bees foraging for food amongst subjects such as Hellebores. Galanthus, Narcissi and other spring bulbs are months ahead of their normal flowering times and even summer flowering subjects are well advanced.

 

The wet spell in late autumn and winter has meant many of us had to keep off the soil and there is a distinct danger of easily damaging particularly the heavier soils by trying to work them whilst still too wet. The wet and mild winter has encouraged slugs to remain active with lots of damage being observed on a wide range of plants. Trying to set any sort of timetable of tasks for here in the midlands is extremely difficult and anyone outside my locality must take their local climate and prevailing ground conditions into account when planning any gardening tasks.

 

With January being virtually written off for gardeners and garden centres alike because of the wet, February is likely to be a very hectic month as we play catch up and move into what can be the most depressing month of the year to many people, both gardeners and non‑gardeners. However, we must not rush out and damage our gardens and plants by being too eager!

 

February is a short month with spring only just around the corner and a time when considerable planning and preparation should take place. It is a month, which can again demonstrate extremes of weather in only a few short days. Cold damp still conditions with poor light levels can cause havoc with plants, especially those in the greenhouse or waterlogged ground.

 

The following is a list of possible jobs based mainly on the South Midlands and readers living elsewhere must take this into account and select their tasks accordingly. This new list replaces earlier versions, which because of changes in weather, chemicals and techniques means older editions should be discarded.

 

Advice

 

Work with the weather, the heavy rains over the last few days of January mean that in particular heavy soils will need time to drain before cultivations can take place. Ensure water can drain away from your garden and that drains gullies and watercourses are not blocked in any way.

 

Be prepared! Many jobs can be done in spite of the weather such as ensuring pots, seed trays are thoroughly clean and ready for use in the greenhouses, and conservatories are in good order, clean and hygienic. Get down to your local reputable nursery or garden centre and make purchases of seeds, bulbs corms and tubers as soon as possible, along with all the other accessories such as pots, trays and fresh compost.

 

Careful thought to ventilation and watering this month can often make for healthier indoor and over-wintering plants with less pest and disease problems. Automatic vents are very useful and extra care with ventilation is necessary if you are still using bubble insulation to reduce heat loss from greenhouses.

 

Tips

 

Do not get carried away, especially with regard to pruning, I have already seen several gardening columns suggesting pruning Cornus and Salix that are grown for their coloured stems, please delay this until March so that you can enjoy those attractive stems over the next few weeks. You can however carry out drastic rejuvenation pruning to mature old Apple trees or you could rejuvenate old deciduous hedges by cutting back one side hard this month and then cutting the other side back in possibly two years’ time.

 

Please do not prune shrubs that flower on old wood unless it is to remove dead or damaged stems at this time of the year, plants such as Philadelphus, Weigelia and Deutzia, all these flower on old stems and pruning these at any time in the spring will reduce flowering.

 

Be prepared to prune clematis according to the weather. Clematis are best pruned as the buds begin to swell and the late summer species and large flowered hybrids are often hard pruned in the spring. In some years this may be as early as January and other instances it may be into March before those buds begin to fatten. Other than removing dead or damaged growths do not prune other clematis groups at this time of the year but ensure they are well tied in.

 

Given a few mild days plants and weeds will grow very rapidly after any brief cold spells as the ground is warmer than in most winters and I would recommend going around the garden with a hand or border fork to remove any weeds that are showing signs of becoming well established. Given warm weather herbaceous that needs dividing should be lifted and separated carefully with some urgency particularly subjects that flower in spring or early summer. Remember to discard the older tired centre part of the clump only saving the more vigorous outer sections. I recommend lifting and dividing the Hellebore garden hybrids this month before they come into flower, rather than after flowering which the books recommend. I disagree, as May can be a warm month when Hellebores will have new fleshy leaves, which transpire more moisture than the newly planted root system can provide.

 

I read an interesting report in the last few days about an American nurseryman who grow several acres of hellebores and because of an appalling autumn frost and snow had been unable to complete his annual cutting down of all the old foliage. To his surprise the half that have been left unpruned produced an earlier and much larger crop of superior quality blooms compared with the area that had been hard pruned. Others argue that leaving the foliage encourages mice to the area who will remove flower shoots to eat back at their nests. I leave the decision to you but can only presume that the effects of the old foliage had been to protect the roots and developing flower buds. For this reason, I am rather against applying a mulch to any part of the garden following cold weather as this simply seals in the cold delaying root and shoot development.

 

You will find many new varieties of hellebores offered for sale in garden centres but it’s interesting to see that Helleborus ‘Winter Moonbeam’ and Helleborus ‘Winter Sunshine’ are both subjects that actually are best planted on flat sites in full summer sun whereas most Helleborus x hybridus selections are best planted in shade or dappled summer sun. If this cannot be achieved then I would plant hardy geraniums such as ‘Blue Skies’ that has a scandescent in habit that will climb over the foliage of the hellebores providing some shade against possible hot summer sun. All Hellebores enjoy very good light levels in the spring.

 

The Flower Garden

 

There is still time to plant bare rooted deciduous trees, shrubs and hedging plants together with container grown specimens as long as conditions are favourable, i.e. when the soil is NOT waterlogged or frozen. Otherwise heel in bare rooted plants or store in protected place. After any planting, consider pruning to improve the root – shoot ratio and promote a healthy well-formed and balanced framework of growth. In view of the recent wet weather, I will be recommending plants many subjects slightly higher than in the past in the hope roots establish without rotting in the wet ground – I term this technique mound planting rather than just leaving the plant sticking further out of the ground.

 

Plant Lily bulbs in soil that has been enriched in leaf-mould or free-draining organic matter. On heavy soils plant the bulbs on a deep layer of sharp grit. Pot a few up for an early display, or use on the patio, alternatively plunge pots in the borders for instant colour. Watch out for Tree and Skyscraper Lilies, they get taller every year eventually reaching as much as 8ft. Remember Lily bulbs are soft fleshy bulbs that should not be allowed to dry out, do not purchase shrivelled bulbs or keep bulbs in hot dry conditions, store in damp peat or similar if your are unable to plant immediately.

 

Firm in any newly planted trees or shrubs etc. Firm in any spring bedding plants, which may have been loosened / lifted by frosts in late January. Check over spring flowering bedding plants, picking off any defective leaves. Lightly cultivate the surface of the soil between the plants without damaging bulbs etc. You may wish to try to prevent mildew on Pansies and Violas by spraying with a garden fungicide, as prevention is far more effective than a curative spray. There is no control for some of the stem and basal rots that seen prevalent this year due to mild damp conditions, do not feed Violas or Pansies this early in the year.

 

Sprinkle sharp sand or grit around emerging tulips and other bulbs to deter slugs on heavier soils. Protect Crocus flowers with wreath wires; do not use cotton on sticks as this simply traps birds for the local cat.

 

Mixed ornamental borders will benefit from a light forking over to relieve the effects of compaction caused by heavy rains before applying a mulch of organic matter providing the ground is not too wet.

 

Lightly cultivate between Delphiniums, and prevent slug damage by applying slug pellets to the area.

 

Slugs may be a problem on herbaceous perennials and alpines, use a slug trap, barrier or dehydrant at first signs of attack.

 

Soil pests such as leather jackets, cutworms, millipedes and wireworms can no longer be controlled with a soil insecticide as these have been removed from sale so expose to birds during cultivations with a three pronged cultivator or border fork.

 

Spray ornamental Prunus trees in the flower garden with Bayer Fungicide (originally sold as Dithane 945), lime sulphur or copper to prevent peach leaf curl infection. Alternatively cover with polythene shield to prevent infection from January until early May

 

Spray roses for the prevention of black spot using Armillatox providing you live outside the EU! United Kingdon from 31st December 2020! Armillatox is in short supply so do buy when seen to ensure you have sufficient stock when needed (Currently showing out of stock on Amazon in 5 litre packs).

 

Tidy up the alpine garden, removing fallen leaves and debris, lightly fork over the area and apply an appropriate top-dressing. Do not disturb resting plants by tugging at foliage or removing winter protection in the form of old foliage.

 

The seed of Androsace and other alpines sown last month and exposed to frost can now be brought into a temperature of 8C (45 F) to encourage growth. Other alpines may also be sown in cool conditions.

 

Check Primulas and Primroses for slug or weevil damage. Water plants in containers and pots with Bayer Vine weevil control to kill larvae.

 

Continue to feed the wild birds with seeds, dried mealworms etc., provide fresh drinking water. Set up nesting boxes in suitable places with entrances out of the wind and sun. Clean out old nest boxes but do not use strong detergents as this may prevent birds using the nest boxes.

 

Annual weeds will continue to germinate and grow almost anywhere in the flower garden during mild spells, lightly cultivate with hoe or cultivator and remove seedlings without damaging dormant plants or bulbs. Do not leave a fine seed bed.

 

Check protection around tender perennials such as Agapanthus, Kniphofia, Border Lobelia etc. and leave plants undisturbed until spring.

 

Plant Anemone and Ranunculus tubers with the claws downwards; 60-75mm (2½-3”) and 37mm (1½”) deep respectively and 15cm (6”) apart. Plant lily of the valley crowns in irregular groups before growth commences.

 

Snowdrops are best divided as soon as the flowers have faded; this is only necessary to increase the stock, which is often slow to multiply. This is against the recommendations of the Royal Horticultural Society but from my experience they establish better moved this month rather than leaving division until the summer when they may start rooting before lifting which can mean poor establishment, they also dry out if out of the moist ground for any length of time again making establishment difficult so I never recommend buying dry bulbs in the summer.

 

Towards the end of the month prune late flowering deciduous shrubs such as Buddleia davidii, which flowers on the current season’s growth. Depending on the season other subjects to be pruned include Hydrangea paniculata, Hypericum moserianum, Spirea japonica and Ceratostigma willmotiae. Leave pruning if there is any threat of cold weather.

 

Prune late summer and autumn groups of Clematis as their buds begin to swell or the end of the month, whichever comes first; do not prune spring and early summer types at this time of the year as you will be removing growth containing flower buds.

 

Any bare areas in the flower garden can be planted up with container-grown pansies or violas, which will now be appearing again in shops and garden centres.

 

Dig in organic materials especially on sandy soils to improve soil fertility and soil structure.

 

Border perennials can be lifted and divided as soon as the soil is in a workable condition, planting in irregular groups where possible. Spring flowering perennials are best planted in the autumn and those flowering in the autumn are best if planted at this time of year. Towards the end of the month, an application of bone meal or any other slow release general fertilizer may be made to all herbaceous plantings.

 

Consider using a residual weedkiller on paths and drives to prevent emerging seedlings becoming established and causing damage. Apply either granular or liquid weedkiller to entire gravel areas and cracks in paving etc. Take care not to contaminate surrounding features. Be aware many weed killers are not recommended for use on block paving as it may cause staining, however from my own experience some salt like effect does occur for a few days with some products but I have not seen longer term staining.

 

Cover any choice plants coming into flower such as alpines or bulbs to prevent either rain or frost damage, bring onto the patio or into the cool conservatory any pot grown camellias in order that you can enjoy their floral beauty, remember Camellia flowers are easily damaged by frost.

 

Tidy up any wind damage on plants such as Pampass grass, repair any posts or panels.

 

Plant out any forced bulbs after cutting off any faded flower heads, firm in and water and feed until foliage dies naturally, do not cut off.

 

Apply Sequestrene to Azaleas, Rhododendrons, heathers and Camellias, which showed yellowing between the veins of foliage last year, this is normally only on alkaline soils to allow nutrients to be more freely available to those plants requiring a low soil Ph .

 

Lawns

 

If you are planning a new lawn, prepare the ground now providing it is not too wet in order that it has time to settle and allow weed seeds to germinate prior to sowing.

 

Mosses can be particularly bad during a wet February, especially on heavy soils and when conditions are dry enough regular rakings will reduce infestations, which can be chemically controlled in the spring. Where practical, take steps to prevent its return by alleviating the cause if possible e.g. poor drainage, compaction, thatch etc.

 

Where worm casts are a persistent problem on lawns brush off and spike during mild damp weather, there is a new worm deterrent now available to the amateur sold under the name of Cast Clear.

 

Mowers and other mechanical aids used in the garden are best overhauled as soon as possible before the rush in March. With the mild winter of 2019/2020 I will probably cut mine lawn again in early February by lightly topping the grassqwith a lightweight mower set around 40-50mm (13/4-2")

 

Fruit

 

Continue winter pruning of apple trees, according to variety and sealing large wounds with fungicidal tree paint where necessary. Remove any damaged or cankerous wood, together with any overcrowded or weak growths. Outside the EU Armillatox may be applied to cankers as a control.

 

Cut down autumn fruiting raspberry canes leaving new emerging shoots. Clean between plants and apply a general slow release fertiliser along either side of the row. Check ties on summer fruiting raspberries, and apply a general fertiliser likewise.

 

 

Spray nectarines, apricots and peach for the control of peach leaf curl, using one of the old-fashioned controls such as Copper (or Armillatox for those outside the EU) as most other modern fungicides have now been withdrawn.

 

Take steps to prevent bird damage to fruit by using fruit cages, netting and bird repellents. Use rabbit guards on fruit trees where necessary.

 

Remove suckers from rootstocks of apple trees. Where trees are growing in grass, feed with nitrogenous fertiliser especially if growth is stunted, feed other apple trees with general fertiliser if necessary.

 

Prune apricots after feeding and removing any suckers. Space and tie in branches, leaders and other main growths.

 

Protect branches of fig trees with embryo fruits by covering with porous material, such as Hessian sheet. Plant new figs in limed, poorish soil with bone meal and allow only a restricted root run.

 

Prune blackberries by removing very old-fruited canes, tie in new canes and plant new blackberries in well-manured soil against framework.

 

Remove old fruited wood from blackcurrants leaving only lighter coloured branches. Feed with general fertiliser.

 

Prune gooseberries and redcurrants by reducing new leader growths to 15cm (9") and laterals to 5cm (2"). Protect buds from birds.

 

Weed and tidy amongst strawberries, lightly cultivate and feed with potash fertiliser. Cover a few well-established plants with cloches for early fruiting. Prepare sites for spring planting by deep cultivations and the addition of manure.

 

Finish pruning outdoor grape vines as soon as possible, cutting away old fruited growths and tying down side shoots.

 

Prune cobnuts and filberts as soon as the red female flowers can be seen. Shorten leading shoots to two buds and laterals to the first catkin, keep plants open and prune only if they fill their allotted space.

 

The Vegetable Garden

 

Cover an area in vegetable garden with polythene or glass to dry and warm the soil in order to get an early start. Choose a warm well-drained sunny site if possible.

 

Plant shallots if the soil was unsuitable in January, as weather and soil conditions allow, cover with cloches or fleece tunnels if necessary. Plant the bulbs with a trowel, burying two-thirds of each bulb. Space the bulbs at 225mm (9”) in rows 30cm (12”) apart.

 

Towards the end of the month, apply high nitrogen fertiliser to over-wintering Japanese Onions.

 

In sheltered spots with well-drained warm soils sow early peas such as ‘Feltham First’, and broad bean ‘The Sutton’, alternatively sow in pots and grow on in cool conditions.

 

Tidy up the herb garden, pruning where necessary. Cultivate lightly between plants. Replace any plants that have died due to the wet winter later on when the ground is warmer and drier.

 

Towards the end of the month sow seeds of parsnips in fold of an old tea cloth or tissue and germinate on kitchen windowsill. Prick out immediately young root appears. Alternatively sow in rows 25mm (1”) deep; two seeds per station 225mm (9”) apart with 450mm (18”) between the rows.

 

Lift and divide a few roots of chives, replant in well-manured ground, buy chives to plant out.

 

Protect crowns of Globe Artichokes from frost. Lift tubers of Chinese and Jerusalem types when needed. Dig and manure soil for all types.

 

 

Protect autumn sown beans with cloches during severe weather. Dig and manure site for all types of peas and beans if not already done.

 

Plant out spring cabbages if not done in the autumn, in rows 30cm (12”) apart with 45cm (18”) between the rows.

 

Check over Brussels sprouts that are still cropping, removing blown sprouts, yellow leaves etc. Stake and tie tall plants and/or earth up base of stems. As they finished cropping remove stumps ready for burning and dig over areas if conditions permit. Check over all cabbages, earth up to lowest leaves where necessary. Broccoli curds will benefit from protection if freezing conditions are forecast, cover with protective fleece.

 

Autumn sown cauliflowers should be hardened off towards the end of the month, in readiness for planting out in March.

 

Continue to pot and force roots of seakale for succession, there is nothing to be gained now by lifting and forcing Rhubarb, as outdoor crops will in turn produce stalks if covered.

 

Check all vegetables in store. Turn onion bulbs to ensure none are rotting. Use celeriac roots and beetroot from store as needed together with carrots and potatoes.

 

Examine seed potatoes already set up for signs of decay or greenfly attack, continue to obtain further supplies of seed potatoes as available setting boxing them up on end, in a cool frost free environment.

 

If the weather is reasonable, cover sheltered sites with cloches or polythene so that the soil underneath will dry and warm up ready for sowing next month.

 

Over-wintering green vegetables for maturing in the spring will benefit from a nitrogenous fertiliser such as nitro‑chalk or sulphate of ammonia at the rate of 60 grams sq m (2oz per square yard) for cabbages and 30 grams sq m (1 oz per square yard) for broccoli etc.

 

Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers 40cm (16”) apart and 90cm (36”) between the rows. They will grow on most sites and soils and are one of the hardiest of vegetables, cover tubers with 75mm (3”) of soil. They make good windbreaks with sunflower like growths and flowers.

 

Plant young well‑budded clumps of rhubarb in well-manured soil. Force established 2‑3 year old clumps with straw and then an inverted container, spread a little well-rotted farmyard manure around the area or a general fertiliser to promote growth.

 

Continue to force chicory in situ by earthing up around the plants, or alternatively by forcing plants under large plant pots in greenhouse etc.

 

In order to obtain maximum benefits from fertilisers and best results from crops it is advisable to check the soil pH and possibly the nutrient levels at this time of the year. This can be done simply with a home test kit or by sending samples away for analysis. Lime can then be added as required. Heavy soils can be conditioned with calcified seaweed.

 

Make an early sowing of turnips in a warm sheltered spot and make successional sowings every fortnight or so until late July to ensure a constant supply of fresh roots over a long season.

 

Glasshouse

 

Brush off any loose soil and then thoroughly wash all pots and seed trays to reduce the risk of diseases.

 

Protect any half-hardy annuals in cold greenhouses or cold fames against freezing conditions.

 

After soaking the corms of Amenones such as A. coronaria De Caen for 24 hours in water, pot up in half pots to provide colour in late spring. Grow on in the cool or warm greenhouse for best results.

 

Lift and bring into cool greenhouse pots of daffodils from plunge bed, shading blanched foliage for first few days.

 

Potted Roses and Azaleas can be brought into the greenhouse in batches to provide a succession of flower.

 

Pollinate and disbud early peaches and nectarines in the warm greenhouse using a soft brush around mid-day when the pollen is active and the sun shining. Do not use overhead misting until the fruitlets have started to form; a slightly dry atmosphere is best at pollination time. After flowering start to disbud the small side shoots, a few at a time leaving only one or two per lateral.

 

Pollinate early vines in heated greenhouses in a similar manner to peaches. Formative prune by retaining only the strongest lateral at each fruiting spur; any subsequently produced laterals should be pinched out just beyond the first leaf. Keep vine greenhouses warmer during flowering to ensure the fruit sets, around 21C (74F) during the day and 5C (10F) cooler at night. Begin light liquid feeding after fruit set.

 

Sow broad beans under glass in pots or root trainers, cover seed with 15-20mm (¾”) of compost and germinate under cool conditions, grow on in cool well-lit position. Protect from frost.

 

Sow lettuce, peas and cauliflowers in temperature of 13C (55F), sow seed thinly and prick out lettuce and cauliflowers into small pots, grow on without any checks to growth. Peas are best grown two or three seeds per 7cm (3”) pot.

 

Sow cucumber seed individually in small pots for planting out in the heated greenhouse during March Choose an indoor heated all-female type for best results, saving some seed for successional sowings later, a temperature of 23C (75F) is needed for germination

 

Start second early vines into growth; provide sufficient heat 21C (74F) during the day and 5C (10) cooler at night.

 

Take chrysanthemum cuttings according to variety and method of growing.

 

Geraniums that have been stored in boxes with the roots covered can now be cut back to 6" and potted into 5" pots to provide a display of colour throughout the summer. Do not over-water, especially just after potting

 

Sow sweet peas in small pots, prick out as early as possible into deep small pots or cells, and grow on in cool conditions. Pinch out the growing point after two or three pairs of leaves to improve vigour and encourage bushy plants.

 

As cyclamen finish flowering continue watering and feeding for as long as any foliage persists and only then should watering should be reduced until the compost is dry and the corm goes into a resting phase. Cyclamen in their first year of growth from seed are best kept growing throughout the season as they will not yet have made large enough corms to allow them to regenerate after a dormant rest.

 

Start Achimenes into growth in batches to provide a succession of flower. Lightly cover five or six tubercles per five 12cm (5“) pot or hanging pot with peaty sandy compost, water slightly and place in a propagator or warm place providing 16C (61F)

 

Begonia and Gloxinia corms may be purchased now and started into growth. Use shallow trays of peat based compost and half bury tubers, water in and place in propagator or warm place. Further pottings of these and amaryllis may be made to provide a succession of flower throughout the season.

 

Start Clivias and Vallotas into growth by simply watering; do not repot either subject unless severely pot-bound and place in warm conditions to induce growth. Higher temperatures for amaryllis will mean longer flower stems before the leaves are produced.

 

Inspect regularly all trays and pots of seedlings, expose to good light and water wisely by immersing containers in trays of water for a few minutes, allow to drain and replace in suitable temperature.

 

Ventilate cold frames to promote healthy growth of subjects such as sweet peas and other hardy subject like Auriculas.

 

Sow in a heated propagator the half-hardy annuals that are slow growing such as Salvia, Lobelia, and Antirrhinum etc.

 

If not already done, box up sound healthy dahlia tubers in slightly moist soil-less compost, where temperatures of 65 F can be maintained tubers can be started into growth, if intending to produce cuttings in March/April. Alternatively keep frost-free until April or May.

 

Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days, taking care not to expose young plants to draughts and ensure that plants are not short of water.

 

As day length and temperature increase older houseplants may be re-potted to encourage fresh growth. Prick out seedlings from earlier sowings of bedding plants when large enough to handle.

 

Sow early Cabbage such as Hispi or June Star in peat or paper pots, 2 seeds per pot, alternatively sow seed in a full depth 5” pot and prick out into individual full depth pots or root trainers.

 

Sow 12cm (5") pan of Lettuce Fortune for pricking out and transplanting later.

 

Sow parsley in a 12cm (5”) half-pot in a frost-free place; prick out into small pots for planting out later.

 

Sow melons in the heated greenhouse using small pots and placing seeds singly in 7cm (3”) pots of peat based or low peat alternative compost 12mm (½”) deep. Place pots in a propagator with a temperature of 18-21C (65-70F) If you cannot maintain high temperatures delay sowing until March.

 

Sow French beans in a 20cm (8”) pot and repeat every 14-21 days for a succession of fresh beans under glass from April onwards.

 

Increase watering of plants towards the end of the month especially if the weather is sunny and the compost dries but not when the weather becomes damp or foggy, if in doubt, do not water and where necessary do any watering in the morning.

 

Damping off of seedlings can be a problem and affected trays or pots may be watered with Cheshunt compound or liquid copper fungicide at first signs. Alternatively a seed dressing may be used. Avoid using dirty trays, un-sterilised compost or water from an old butt. Regularly examine plants in the greenhouse for damaged and dying leaves. Keep the greenhouse clean and tidy to reduce the risk of pest and disease developing.

 

Shrubs in tubs, such as Camellias and lemons will benefit from an annual dressing of appropriate compost (lime free for camellias).

 

Re-pot over-wintering Fuchsias after pruning to a basic framework. Keep plants warm, compost only slightly moist and mist plants to stimulate growth. Water the compost with an insecticide approved for vine weevil larvae control to prevent and eradicate the larvae of vine weevil.

 

Tomatoes for growing in a heated greenhouse can be sown now. Prick out as the first seed leaves emerge into 9cm (4”) pots. Delay all other sowings for several weeks.

 

Be on the alert for the first signs of pests and diseases re‑appearing, in particular aphids and white fly, and take appropriate measures to control them, as they will multiply rapidly as the spring month’s progress.

 

Bring into growth greenhouse plants such as Bougainvilleas, Bouvardias, Diplacus, Plumbago and other shrubby half-hardy subjects. Prune as hard as appropriate and repot. Gradually increase watering to match the new growth and the increase in day length. A slight increase in temperature will also be beneficial to plants.

 

Towards the end of the month more half-hardy annual seed maybe sown, subjects include lobelia, dianthus, cosmos, salvia and verbenas.

 

Amaryllis or more correctly Hippeastrums will need regular feeding after flowering. Old flower stalks should only be cut down after they have lost their green colour.

 


Plants Looking Good In February


Bulbs

Anemone blanda and cultivars (wood anemone) white, blue pink and reds including doubles.

Crocus tammasinianus - good in grass naturalized or on the rock garden, useful in containers, C. banaticus, C. biflorus, C. chrysanthus and cultivars.

Cyclamen coum – various shades from white to pink and magenta including patterned leaves, good under trees.

Eranthus hyemalis –winter aconite

Galanthus there are numerous good garden forms of the common snowdrop worthy of a place in the garden

Iris ‘Kathleen Hodgkin’

Iris reticulata cutlivars, Cantab, Pauline, Joyce

Iris danfordiae – yellow flowers early in the month

Narcissus including ‘February Gold’ N. bulbocodium and related cultivars, N. minor, N. pseudo-narcissus


Herbaceous

Helleborus, including H. caucasicus, H. corsicus, H. foetidus, h. x hybridus, H. odorus, H. x garden hybrids, H. viridis.

Iris unguicularis and cultivars

Pumonaria angustifolia, P. rubra, P. saccharata.

Ranunculus ficaria cultivars double forms of the celandine, some have marbled leaves, summer deciduous

Saxifraga ciliata, S. ligulata, S. Stracheyi.


Alpines

Polygala chamaebuxus

Primulas including P. Juliana cultivars, P. winteri, P. allionii (greenhouse)

Saxifraga – many encrusted species and cultivars, S. ‘Elizabeth’, S. ‘Haagii’, S. ‘Irvingii’, S. ‘Jenkinsae’, S. juniperifolia, S. oppositifolia and cultivars, S. ‘Pauline’


Shrubs - deciduous

Chimonanthus fragrans

Cornus mas

Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ – twisted hazel 4.5m (15ft)

Corylopsis Griffithii (sheltered spot)

Daphne mezereum - scented flowers clothe the stems one of the easiest of the daphnes, not long lived 1.2m (4ft)

Lonicera ‘Standishii’

Nuttallia cerasiformis

Stachyurus praecox – yellow bells droop from the purple coloured branches in winter 3m (10ft)

Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ heavy fragrance no pruning needed 3m (10ft)

Viburnum farreri shorter, sweeter scented flowers, good but less common garden shrub 2.4m (8ft)


Shrub - evergreen

Azara integrifolia, A. microphylla

Berberis japonica and cultivars

Camellia reticulata (sheltered spot)

Erica carnea and cultivars, E. darleyensis, E. lusitanica, E. mediterranea.

Garrya elliptica

Lonicera fragrantissima

Pieris japonica

Sarococca hookeriana var. digna ‘Purple Stem’ purple tinged stems with fragrant white flowers 1.5m (5ft)

Viburnum tinus and cultivars


Trees

Cornus mas


Wall Shrubs

 

Chaenomeles speciosa, several good forms of the quince are available and best trained against a wall to see flowers

Clematis calycina, C. cirrhosa,

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ ideal for sheltered wall sun or light shade 3.5m (12ft)

Jasminum nudiflorun


In the Greenhouse

Arum lilies

Acacia dealbata

Azalea

Begonias

Carnations (perpetual)

Cyclamen

Freesias

Gardenias

Hyacinths

Jasminum primulinum

Tulips


Fruit and Vegetables in Season


Vegetables in Store

Jerusalem artichoke, beetroot, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, shallots


Vegetables in the Garden

Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, endive, kale, lettuce, leeks, spring onions, parsnips, savoy cabbage, spinach, turnips.


Vegetables under Glass

Endives, lettuce, mustard and cress, radish, rhubarb, seakale.

 

Fruits in Store

Apples, ‘Adam’s Pearmain’, ‘Beauty of Kent’, Cornish Gillyflower’, ‘Cox’s orange Pippin’, ‘Lane’s Price Albert’, ‘Newton Wonder’, ‘Norfolk Royal Russett’,

Grapes; Alicante Gros, Muscat of Alexandria

Pears;

Nuts;

 

 

The information given in this Fact Sheet is provided in good faith. It is however of necessity general information and advice on the topic. Howard Drury will not be under any liability in respect of the provision of such advice and information and you are strongly advised to seek independent advice on any particular gardening problems or queries you may have, preferably from experts who can (when appropriate) inspect the problem before providing advice.

 

(C) 2020. This material has been produced by Howard Drury and must not be reproduced in part or full without the written consent of Howard Drury, Kings Heath Birmingham, B13 0SJ.

JHD/07/02/2020

 

 


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