Seasonal gardening advice: February
By Paul Hervey-Brookes
February shows signs of approaching spring. Bulbs start peeping through the ground and other bulbs and tubers can be brought on. Dahlias can be placed in a light, warm space to sprout before planting and likely bulbs can be planted and kept in the greenhouse or indoors until spring.
Winter bedding that is in flower [winter pansies etc] should be deadheaded. Pansies will continue to flower into spring, early summer if attended to on a regular basis. Check them for mildew or black spot and remove infected leaves. Any plants that are badly affected should be removed and destroyed.
Old leaves can be cut off hellebores that produce flowers from ground level. This exposes flowers and helps to prevent diseases such as hellebore leaf spot. Bulbs in the green can be divided as can herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate.
Check pots and planters to ensure that they are moist and top them up with fresh compost. You can top dress beds and borders too with a balanced fertiliser.
Take the opportunity to dig a pond in the garden. Spring rainfall will help fill it and planting marginals on gentle slopes will encourage wildlife to the garden. Cover with a simple mesh for safety if you have children.
Check and repair any garden structures that you have and rub down and treat wooden garden furniture.
Build your own cold frame to bring on sweet peas and winter salads.
If you are planning hard landscaping now is the time to move plants that are not needed as they are still dormant. Take care not to compact soil when it is wet.
Check shrubs and trees that are newly planted to make sure that they have not been lifted by frost heave or wind. Firm them back into place and stake taller plants and trees.
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