A February Garden Full of Hope
I think of the February garden as being full of hope. There are lots of small signs that give a powerful sense that spring is about to burst upon us. Catkins, snowdrops, crocuses, violets, hellebores and primroses are the first harbingers of spring. On mild days you might be tempted to spend an hour or two in the garden this month – there are always little jobs to do that will set you up for a productive gardening year.
Nothing is urgent, but now is a good time to get back into the habit of going out and seeing what is happening and to start thinking about where you would like to be in a few months’ time when summer is in full swing. Remember, you can’t do everything but try something different, challenge yourself and do something that excites you and keeps you coming back out for more!
Set aside some time to start thinking about what you would like to try out this summer. It is satisfying to browse through gardening books whilst the rain is hammering against the window. If there’s an area of your garden that you’re not happy with, decide on a plan of action this month.
If you want to grow snowdrops in your garden plant them ‘in-the-green’ later this month after they have finished flowering, but before the leaves have died down. This helps them absorb moisture quickly after they have been planted, as dry, rootless snowdrop bulbs do not re-establish well. You can buy them from garden centres or, if you have a friend with some to spare in their garden, ask for a clump. They won’t take long to establish themselves if you choose the right spot in your garden. Snowdrops enjoy a well-drained spot in light shade, similar to their natural woodland habitat. If you are planting your bulbs in a heavy soil, as many of us have in Oxfordshire, add a little sharp sand or grit to the planting hole to improve drainage. I think a great combination in the garden is to plant them under the red barked dogwood – Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Variegata’. All snowdrop species are endangered and wild snowdrops are protected under law, which means that they must never be picked or lifted from their wild or existing habitat.