February 2019 Newsletter
For what it’s worth February can be full of hope and optimism in the garden, despite being late winter. A clear blue-skied day and snowdrops popping out the ground can be just the trigger to get us in the mood for spring and warmer weather ahead.
In February you can be as busy in the potting shed as in the garden, sowing seeds in propagators and planning your flower garden, which you can do indoors with a comforting cuppa!
Head of Horticulture
Our top 6 jobs for the month
Have fun spending a bit of time planning out your flower beds and ordering your flowers based on the colours and textures you are in the mood for this year. This season the Unwins catalogue highlights flowers in colour trends: Tranquility, Country Romance, Night Garden and Paradise.
With shortages of potato supplies this year order and prepare seed potatoes from Unwins. Get them delivered to your door now and prepare them for planting by leaving them somewhere cool and light like an unheated greenhouse or on a porch windowsill.
February is the perfect time to sow sweet peas- nice and big round seeds easy to sow in Rootrainers or deep pots. You can also try sowing perennials this year like Agastache, Lobelia and marigolds. Start off your summer salads now with chilli peppers and tomatoes, sowing in propagators for a successful start.
Keep your feathered friends fed with high-energy quality seed and fat balls. Sacks of Birds & Bees seed mixes are UK manufactured, cleaned and sorted for disease-free, healthy food perfect for garden birds like robins, blue tits and blackbirds which all feed on garden pests like caterpillars in spring.
February is a perfect time of the year to add shrubs and trees into the garden. You may be able to see spaces in your garden as it lays bare in winter where a tree or shrub would add height or structure. Delivered to your door we give you a bare-root plant, full of energy at the roots and dormant elsewhere ready to burst into leaf and flower as the temperatures rise in spring.
Add some rich compost like Jack’s Magic to existing beds: the compost helps to open the soil letting in valuable oxygen and allows more worm activity which helps naturally to cultivate the soil. The richness also replenishes nutrients that may have lessened and leached away during last year’s hot summer.
Influential plants for the garden
February can be a delight in the garden for a sea of white flowers in winter. Here we highlight three favourites that give you flowers at head height with tree Prunus Kojo-no-mai, knee height with shrub Sarcococca confusa and at ground level with bulbs snowdrops. All these don’t mind shade either.
Japanese flowering cherry - Gorgeous early spring-flowering blossom specially bred to suit small gardens and container displays. Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.
Winter box - Enjoy Sarcococca confusa, the sweet box plant. This perennial highly-scented shrub gives you attractive glossy leaves all year round on tidy compact plants that make fantastic hedges.
Add snowdrops to the soil in big numbers when they are available to buy as bulbs or as green plants. Lily of the valley is another plant worth considering for snow-white blooms and they give off a delicate fragrance too in late spring.
Keep an eye out for diseases - Snow
Not a disease in itself but a big player in producing excess water to flower beds and lawns which can exasperate the conditions favoured by moulds and other disease. Should we experience a bout of snow be sure to check moisture levels after it thaws and aerate the lawn if it is sogging wet and open up the soil by digging it over to allow water to evaporate from it.
British Iris Society Early Spring Show, RHS Garden Wisley (9 February)
Join the British Iris Society at RHS Garden Wisley from 10.30-3.30 for a day of talks, demonstrations, advice and photography on the winter iris- a beautiful hardy member of the bulb family showcasing flowers in blues and whites – cheery colour to brighten your day.
National Nestbox Week (14-21 February)
Recruit some helpers in your garden or plot this season with garden birds, happy to feed on caterpillars and grubs and reduce pest attack on your favourite crops.
National Nestbox Week is an initiative to help bird families by providing homes and shelters. A blue tit baby can consume up to 100 caterpillars in one day – think of the flowers this saves and encourage garden birds to raise families in your garden with nest boxes.