In The Garden: February

20th January 2012

Love Your Garden…

Tips for this month's gardening from National Garden Gift Vouchers

February can be one of the coldest months of the year, so beware. Weather can fluctuate from bright and sunny days to extreme cold and frost; think twice about planting too much just yet. Wait until you are certain that the swingometer has settled down. Just because you can’t rush out and get planting on the 1st of the month doesn’t mean you can’t plan for a frenzied weekend of gardening a few weeks later, though, and you can certainly enjoy your outdoor space while you’re waiting and scheming.

If your garden is in a mild situation, then snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils will each begin to show their pretty heads this month… all great for injecting some ornamental colour into winter-weary gardens.

For the romantics among you, February is the month of love and what better plant to give to your loved one for Valentine’s Day than the fragrant Camellia? As well as representing desire and passion and perfection, Camellias are also one of the best garden plants to use for adding a real splash of colour in the dark winter months – wonderful to grow either in the garden or a container.

Camellias are woodland plants and do best when planted in a sheltered or shady position. They can be grown in a more exposed position if watered carefully and they thrive in a free draining spot with plenty of humus in the surrounding soil. Depending on the variety, you can have flowering from November all the way through to April and the range of colours is vast, from light pinks to dark reds and stunning whites with single, double and other flower forms.

They used to say that the kitchen was the heart of the home, but the garden is a close second these days. Whatever their age, people want to spend more time in their gardens…

Young families are more concerned with creating a child-friendly space for socialising, whereas the older generation sees the garden space as a creative outlet where they can revel in gardening and planting (and sit to relax afterwards). What is clear is that everyone wants to make the most of what they have to suit their needs. And, in addition to sharing their love of plants, gardeners also enjoy sharing their knowledge, with 36% saying that they like swapping gardening tips and ideas with each other (PlantforLife Environment Report 2011).

So, for everyone that values their outdoor space, here are some top tips for jobs in the garden for February….

• Get prepared for your busy period by cleaning and repairing anything you have been leaving on one side

• Oil and sharpen tools, service lawnmowers

• Sweep paths and treat with a moss killer if needed

• Depending on frosts prune roses, climbers and hardy evergreens

• Dead head winter flowers

• Clean up and clear away winter debris and cut back winter plants

• Plant, plant, plant

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