Gardening – Jan/Feb
January and February are the final months of meteorological winter and our gardens are usually in a state of frosty and frozen dormancy. However, that should not stop us gardeners from getting into the garden, we can achieve a lot in these early months in readiness for the rest of our gardening calendar.
The weather is usually very cold, with hard frosts and snowy conditions. It is important that we check staked in plants and shrubs and tie in any loose climbers to the wall, fence, trellis or archway frame. We should softly brush off any snow on shrubs and plants as it can damage the branches, leaves and scorch new buds.
Wisteria, rose bushes, apple and pear trees to name but a few can be carefully pruned whilst they sit dormant. The art of pruning is to stand back from the plant to assess whether you want to soft or hard prune, to consider the shape you wish to achieve. It is best to take your time when pruning as a branch can only be cut once.
The soil in our gardens will be very moist and muddy at this time of year so we can turn soil and pick weeds with relative ease meaning our gardens will move into springtime with less well rooted weeds taking hold. Whilst tidying weeds up, we can deadhead winter cyclamen and pansies to keep them looking fresh and tidy before they end their season.
We can turn any winter blues green by getting into gardens and outdoor spaces. The days are very gradually lengthening, wildlife is slowly becoming more active and the garden is starting to come back to life, with a wide range of spring bulbs sprouting in our beds, borders, pots and containers. Snowdrops and crocuses are already flowering whilst daffodils, hyacinth, muscari, alliums and tulips
await prolonged milder spells of forthcoming springtime.
It is an excellent time to create a new border in the garden or build a raised bed to provide extra space to plant, grow and enjoy even more plants and flowers. A border can be dug out directly into the ground and a raised bed built by placing railway sleepers into an interlocking shape of your choice and filling it with a bottom layer of soil and top layer of general purpose compost.
The pots, containers, tubs and planters in the garden will have taken a battering over winter season so we need to get them ready for springtime by giving them a clean, checking the drainage holes and adding pieces of a broken terracotta pot into the base to improve the soak away process.
We can see signs of our gardens coming back to life by late February and with it our optimism of a successful growing season. It won’t be long before we can spend much more time in the garden, pottering about and enjoying the fresh air. We can tackle the last of the winter jobs knowing that in the coming months the garden will be blooming with bright colours.
• Fully cut back perennials ready for the new growing season.
• Top up mulch on your beds and borders
• Clean your lawnmover ready for the first cut
• Keep feeding the birds
• Stay off a frosty lawn, footsteps can snap and kill the frozen glass