I’m writing this on 5th February, the sky is bright blue and cloudless and the garden looks quite beautiful; but the frost is still sparkling on the ground and dusting the tops of the shrubs, so don’t be beguiled into thinking winter is past, just yet.
Work in a February garden is very much dictated by temperature, so if it’s bitterly cold and the ground is frozen, many of these jobs should be postponed.
- Deciduous grasses will be looking messy, so remove the old stems if you haven’t already, as new shoots will soon be appearing.
- If we do have snow, knock it off evergreen shrubs and hedges to prevent the weight damaging the plants.
- Later in the month, prune summer flowering Clematis (Group 3), cut stems back hard, to healthy buds about 30cm above the base.
- If you need to move deciduous shrubs or trees (small ones), now is the time to do it, while they’re dormant.
- Winter prune apples, blackcurrants and autumn fruiting raspberries.
- Divide congested clumps of herbaceous perennials and grasses, although some respond better if divided in the autumn, so it’s advisable to research specific plants as necessary.
- Snowdrops can be divided after flowering; they respond very well to this. For new stock always buy them ‘in the green’ – this just means buy them as small plants. Success with planting snowdrop bulbs is always quite limited as many of them seem to fail.
- Prune wisteria as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done it.
- Feed fruit trees and bushes with sulphate of potash fertiliser sprinkled around the base.
- Keep bird feeders filled and ensure the water is fresh and not frozen. Birds get thirsty and my blackbirds still love having a bath – even in this freezing weather!