In The Garden: February

With this month’s warm and balmy temperatures, the garden has begun its slow explosion into green, starting of course with the snowdrops and dwarf irises, while narcissi and tulips line themselves up to begin their show next month. So, what is looking good in the garden this month?

Looking Good

img_2042
Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ in a vintage clay pot has come out to see the February sun.

 

img_2058
A surprise of crocuses, which I did not plant! I imagine they must have self-seeded from our nearby park, which is absolutely thick with the most beautiful displays.
img_2059
Helleborus argutifolus. I adore these subtle shades of lime and the soft rounded texture of the sepals.
img_2062
I planted a handful of ‘borrowed’ bulbs from our rented garden in 2015, and last year I divided and spread the clumps, so now this year at last the garden is starting to fill up. Nothing in the garden gives me greater joy to see at this time of year. I am not a galanthophile by any means: I am happy with old faithful G. nivalis. Perhaps one day I will splurge on some different varieties, but right now, these simple flowers couldn’t be making me happier.
img_2063
Electric blue Iris ‘Clairette’ saved over from last year’s pots.
img_2067
Another spring favourite of mine just coming into bloom. I have a white and a baby blue variety somewhere in the front garden and am awaiting their appearance with anticipation and hope.
img_2069
An enormous primrose taken as a seedling from my grandmother’s garden. It needs splitting.
img_2072
I am delighted to have spotted my first Anemone blanda, which I planted in autumn 2016 under the cherry tree.
img_1890
Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ making a surprise appearance at the back of the back garden. I ought to move these nearer the house as they were almost over by the time I spotted them in the distance through the rain-spattered window.

Jobs

  1. This is the month for sorting and sowing seeds. I stocked up on coir pellets (which I am using for the first time as an experiment) and washed out my seed trays and root trainers to ensure they were fresh and clean of any dirt that could have harboured disease from last year. I sorted my seeds into those that needed planting right away (sweet peas, Calendula, Cerinthe, Aquilegia, Nigella, Antirrhinum), those that could wait a month, and those that needed direct sowing. I had lots left over, which I packaged up to send to friends.
  2. It was a good month for mulching the beds with some left over horse manure, as well as some seaweed that I picked up on our recent walk on Tyninghame beach. I try to collect seaweed whenever I go to the beach (always the loose, dead stuff) as it is so wonderful to spread on the garden or to add to compost.
  3. Early spring is the time for pruning hydrangeas, clematis in groups 2 and 3, and certain other woody shrubs that flower later in the year. img_1902
  4. February is the last opportunity for clipping hedges before bird nesting season begins, after which it is necessary to wait until late July. Last year I had sparrows nesting in our privet hedge, so I took to them with hand shears instead of electric.
  5. Each year I grow a different variety of new potato in reusable deep sacks. I find it deeply satisfying earthing them up, watering them, and then tipping the bag out and finding all the new potatoes among the dark earth, even though our local greengrocer sells delicious new potatoes for far cheaper than I could ever manage to produce them. February is the time to ‘chit’ potatoes so I put mine in egg boxes by our french doors, where it is bright but not too warm.img_1901
  6. A general tidy-up was a satisfying way to spend a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, cutting back all the dead stalks and foliage for the compost heap to allow new growth to come through.
  7. Dividing perennials can begin this month if the ground isn’t frozen. I have my eye on a Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, some Bergenias and a Christmas rose that I would like to split so that I can increase my stock.

February Garden View

At last the front garden is beginning to green over with the fat shoots of bulbs growing in thick clumps all over the beds. Snowdrops are spreading beneath the roses and in small corners.

img_2055img_2056img_2057

The back garden too is changing: no snowdrops here, though I plan to spread some to this garden as soon as possible. However, many bulbs planted both this autumn and the previous one are making bold appearances.

img_2048img_2049

img_2053

img_2054

So that is it for February, a joyful month in the garden as spring begins to break through and cheer us all up after a long winter. I am now thoroughly looking forward to March, when the first species tulips and narcissi will be bringing even more colour to the garden. What have you been enjoying about your garden in February, and what are you looking forward to seeing in March?

Finally, can you see a face in the photo below?

img_2045

 

14 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Lots to be very happy about in your garden. Even though you are so much further north than I am, your bulbs are more or less at the same stage.

  2. Really lovely to read all about your garden exploits. It has inspired and encouraged me to get out and start tidying up. I look forward to the next chapter.

  3. I see the face and I like the pot.

  4. It’s so lovely to see the green shoots starting to return. Impressed with your array of containers too, a fabulous Spring display awaits. I see the face!!

  5. Your garden is off to a good start. When I lived in a climate that could grow crocuses, the squirrels would dig them up and replant them.

  6. Your spiffy new patio is a great staging point for all that is coming up. I wish I had your foresight by buying and potting up more bulbs. You show will be wonderful! Yes, I see the face, too. 🙂

  7. Looking lovely. I am surprised that your bulbs are as advanced as they are down here, considering how far north you are!

  8. The bulbs look lovely in pots, don’t they? I am impressed with how tidy your front garden looks after your recent efforts – my borders still looked untidy despite trimming dead stems and I feel I want to go back and work at them again till there is just bare earth inbetween the plants 😉 You must be so pleased with your cobbled circle which makes such an impact

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: