February Hints and Tips

Welcome to the start of the growing year, when seeds can be sown, potatoes prepared by chitting, and the first flowers: daffodils, snowdrops, primroses, winter aconites and pulmonarias show some colour.

February involves pruning many late flowering shrubs to encourage new flowering shoots, for example:

A useful tip for Wisteria – 7 & 2.  In the 7th month prune back new growth to 7 buds and in the 2nd month (now) prune these shoots back to 2 buds; you can also cut out some tangled old wood.

Winter jasmine can be cut back after flowers have faded to 5cm/2” from a main stem.

Late-flowering clematis can be cut down to a strong pair of buds about 30cm/12” from the ground. This will stimulate the new growth that bears the flowers.

Hydrangeas: leave mophead hydrangeas until March before dead-heading; they flower on last year’s growth, but prune Hydrangea paniculata to an open framework now because they flower on current season’s growth.

Bush roses can be encouraged by pruning back to outward facing buds late in the month.

Fuchsias should be cut hard back to 15cm/6” and Santolina and Lavatera to low, well-placed branches.

Buddleia can be cut back to a low framework at the end of the month (too early, and the new growth, thus encouraged,

Euphorbias give texture and colour this month

will be damaged by frost).

After pruning, a top-dressing of compost or general fertiliser should be applied.

Sowing seeds

Under cover, sow tomatoes, lettuce, sweet-peas, chillies and peppers.

Under cloches, broad beans, cabbages, parsnips, beetroot.

Plant shallot sets and garlic cloves, if you did not do so in the Autumn.

Tidy up

Cut down the top growth of herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses to make room for new shoots.

Fruit

Feed your fruit bushes and trees with a high potash or general fertiliser.

Autumn-fruiting raspberry canes can be cut to the ground and summer-fruiting canes thinned out.

 

The Garden Society hopes to be able to open the trading shed from Saturday 12th February, selling garden sundries to members.  We hope to hold our Annual General meeting, social evening and quiz at 7.30pm on Friday 25th February at the Willis Hall, Church Crookham (free for members, £3 for guests)

There are gardens to visit, depending on lock down. Check the arrangements before you go. (see NGS.org.uk)