February – what to do in the garden
Frost, rain and temperature will all have an effect on what you can perhaps do this month, so please use this just as a useful guide. There are plenty of things to be done this time of year but I shall focus on the things I do and/or am asked about the most…
Now is a good time to stand back and assess what you have, to prune and also to tidy up those scruffy borders and put new plants in as the ground warms up.
You might also want to invest a little time and care in your lawn by considering aerating and scarifying it soon. I know that it means it wont look great in the short term but the long term benefits far outweigh this so do a little research. There is no quick fix really, so it’s definitely a good investment of time and money.
Shoots and new growths should be appearing by now, along with snowdrops and crocus telling us that Spring is on the way.
Cut late-flowering clematis back to about 20-25cm and prune any weaker growth from early summer-flowering Clematis. If this is the first time after planting it, then prune to the lowest 1 or 2 buds on each stem as this should produce fab, bushy growth.
Tidy and cut back older stems in your herbaceous borders and check any supports you might have in place, replacing any you think might need it before the plant starts outgrowing it. Prune those later summer-flowering shrubs like Buddleia and finish pruning wisteria whilst dormant (cut back growths to 2 or 3 buds). I know it seems harsh but not only will this make it neater; it will also mean the flowers don’t get masked by leaves.
Before nesting season, ruthlessly cut back ivy because this aggressive approach will actually improve its appearance and shiny new green leaves will appear. It’s also a lot easier to see what you’re doing at the moment!
If you have fruit trees that appear a little sad or are crossing, prune them and give them some general fertiliser. The pruning of apples, pears, currants and gooseberries should be finsihed by the end of this month so remove dead, damaged and diseased wood (best to burn it).
Oh, and cut back deciduous hedges before birds have a chance to nest in them, as otherwise it will be ‘too late .com’.