February In The Garden
We are delighted to welcome Darragh Connolly of DarraghConnolly.ie Garden Care as Guest Blogger. Darragh will be sharing his monthly tips of how to care for your garden, choosing plants and flowers and suggested jobs for the weekend.
February in the Garden
This month see the sap beginning to rise, not only in plants but in ourselves too. It can actually be a colder month than January, but its rare that there aren’t a few nice sunny days to tempt us out to our gardens. The days are beginning to lengthen and officially spring has arrived. Certainly our gardens are starting to show signs of life with early bulbs making an appearance. While this is a busy month with plenty to do both indoors and outside, the rewards in the months to come will make it all worthwhile.
Jobs in the garden for February
Baby plants including Busy Lizzies, Petunias, Begonias, Blue Lobelias, Trailing Lobelias, Marigolds and Pansies can be potted indoors for super colour for borders and containers during summer. For summer colour in flower borders and beds, plant up some summer flowering bulbs including Double Dahlias, Long Stemmed Gladiolas, Double Begonias and Scented Lilies. Place the potted bulbs in a bright warm location to encourage early growth and early flowering. Summer flowering bulbs can be planted out of doors in early April.
Summer flowering Lupins planted in late February will reward you with a stunning show of colour in early summer. Lupins provide long stemmed flowers from May to mid summer and are ideal for adding a splash of vibrant colour in shrub beds and borders.
Plant a splash of early spring colour in patio pots and window boxes. Choose spring flowering Tulips, Dwarf Daffodils, Crocus, scented Hyacinths and under plant with Pansies, Violas and Primulas for long lasting early colour. Scented garden lilies including the beautiful Regale Lily can be potted up now and placed in a sheltered part of the garden to grow on. Scented lilies are easy to grow, offer you large trumpet shaped flowers in summer that are scented and ideal for cutting. Plant in groups of three or five for a stunning effect.
Cut flowers including summer flowering Agapanthus, Alstromeria, Delphiniums, Lilies, Peonies, Roses and Babies Breath can be planted now from plants directly out into the garden soil. Plant in groups of three or five for a strong bold effect.
Prune and feed roses now. Cut back your summer flowering roses and remove any dead or damaged stems, clean off any weeds or debris from the bed and apply a dressing of rose fertiliser around the base of each rose. Bush roses should be fed once a month with rose fertiliser.
Herbs can be potted into window boxes and outdoor planters. All the hardy popular varieties are now ready for planting and will last until early winter.
For an early great tasting crop of new potatoes look for the variety called Red Duke of York. This variety is ideal for planting in containers or barrels, because of its neat compact foliage and produces a bumper crop of great tasting potatoes. Red Duke of York seed potato is now available for planting and is resistant to scab.
Start onions and shallots off early by planting them in seed trays of compost and placing the trays in a warm bright location. This ensures strong growth before they are planted directly into the garden soil in March.
Tomato seeds can also be sown now for early fruiting tomato plants. Favourites include Delight, Moneymaker, Shirley and Golden Sunrise and these can all be sown from seed in shallow seed trays covered in cling film in gentle heat. Tomato Bajaja, another great choice, produces masses of small cherry sized fruit all summer long and is ideal for growing in a pot on the window sill.
Pea and bean vegetable seed can be sown indoors now. To grow peas and beans, simply sow in small pots or seed trays in compost, cover with cling film and place in a bright warm location indoors. The young plants will germinate quickly and can be planted out of doors in late February. Asparagus plants can be planted outdoors this month into well prepared and manured soil. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable and provides regular pickings from early spring each year. Remember to prepare the soil well and add in plenty of organic compost to enrich the earth.
Horseradish is a simple to grow perennial herb. It produces hot tangy roots year after year and is an ideal accompaniment to many foods especially roast beef. To grow horseradish, plant the roots out of doors in a corner of the garden in a location where it will not crowd or overgrow other plants. You can also grow horseradish in large pots to control its spread.
Dead and damaged hedges should be removed now and replanted with frost hardy varieties including Laurel Etna, Cherry Laurel, Portuguese Laurel and Beech. Soil preparation is important so add some tree and shrub compost to the planting hole before planting.
Other jobs in the garden to consider in February
- Make sure garden birds have food & water
- Apply organic fertilisers
- Continue to plant trees, shrubs, fruit trees & perennials
- Firm in newly planted trees & shrubs
- Prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering including heathers
- Prune summer flowering shrubs that flower on new wood
- Prune hardy evergreen trees & shrubs
- Prune jasmines & late flowering clematis
- Prune off any old herbaceous plants
- Divide & repot snowdrops
- Start dahlia into growth
- Repot or top dress containers
- Prepare seed bed for vegetables
- Mulch fruits trees after feeding
- Mulch all the garden
- Protect fruit trees & shrubs from bird damage
- Prick out or pick out seedlings from last month
- Cut back overgrown hedges before nesting season
- Finish pruning fruit
- Check tools & plant supports
- Sow annuals under cover
- Prune roses
Star plants for February
- Helleborus orientalis
- Cyclamen coum
- Iris ‘Harmony’
- Euonymus ‘silver queen’ & ‘kathy’
- Erica darlyensis
- Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’
- Viburnam tinus
- Chaenomeles speciose
- Cornus mas
- Start of tulips