February Gardening

Lengthening days tempt us keen gardeners back into the garden, and any tasks completed in February will really give your garden a lift before the start of spring.
The weather in February isn’t always tempting to venture out into the garden but why not try planting Summer-flowering bulbs? Summer bulbs add a punch of colour to your garden from late spring right the way into autumn. They are often tall, showy plants that have rich colours and make great cut flowers.
The range includes Dahlias, crocosmia, gladioli, lilies, agapanthus, cannas, begonias and many more. Technically, many are corms or tubers, not bulbs. The main difference is that bulbs are fleshy and have different layers, like onions. Corms and tubers are solid and the same all the way through.
Summer bulbs tend to be tender perennials that can’t survive cold, snowy winter, so they are either grown as annuals or are dug and stored and then replanted every year. If you’d like to get a quick start on growing your summer bulbs, you can pot them up indoors now, giving them a couple of months growing time before transplanting them outdoors. Then you can either move them outside pot and all or transplant them into the garden.
Different bulbs need different soil types but summer bulbs generally like a warm, sunny position. Free-draining soil is important as bulbs are susceptible to rotting so add plenty of grit to the compost.
If the weather is kind February is a good time to divide perennials. If you have a well-established flower border and want to increase the amount of flowers at no cost, you can divide perennials such as hardy geraniums and asters. These will have formed new growth under last year’s leaves. If you dig these up carefully and split them in two, you can then replant both. They’ll do best if you add a little compost to the ground first.
Other Tasks for February:
• Trim lawn edges to instantly create neat, defined borders
• Last chance to prune hedges before birds start to nest
• Remove faded flowers from pansies and violas to stop them setting seed.
• Complete planting of bareroot trees, hedges and roses before they resume growing in the spring.
• Sow seeds (indoors) of Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, chillies, Cosmos, Salvia, sweet peas, Dahlia, lobelia, snap dragons
• Primula (primroses/ polyanthus), Soft Fruit, Perennials & Roses can be planted in February
• Clematis group 3 (herbaceous clematis), Buddleia, Hydrangea, winter jasmine, roses can all be pruned in February.
Whatever February brings I hope you get a chance to step out into the garden and enjoy the season as you tackle this months gardening jobs.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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