Garden inspiration

birds in a nest

Jobs to do in the February Garden

Now, before the birds start nesting, is the best time of year to clear your garden if it has become overgrown. It’s too easy to just live with what you have. Think instead of the potential for what you garden might be like if it were to be cleared.

This is a good month for pruning woody plants. Hardy shrubs that flower on new wood later in the summer, for example the butterfly bush Buddlejia davidii, can be cut right down hard to the base. It’s amazing just how well shrubs respond to this, putting on rapid growth over the spring and summer months to flower later on in the year. Just ensure that you leave a few shoots at the base to form the basic structure of the plant. Use the left over twiggy prunings as supports for plants such as delphiniums in March.

buddleia with butterfly

Wisterias usually flower more freely and regularly if pruned twice a year, once in August and again in February. Simply cut back the growth to two or three buds to ensure that the flowers will not be obscured by leaves. The idea is to have a skeleton frame of well-spaced branches. On an overgrown wisteria this may require some time and patience but it is well worth the effort to enjoy the spectacle of flowers later in the year.

It’s too early to apply synthetic or chemical fertilizers – these are useful later in the season to act as a quick tonic for getting plants off to a quick start – but organic fertilisers release goodness into the soil at a slower rate and now is the perfect time to apply them. Blood, fish and bone, seaweed meals and pelleted chicken manures have some soil conditioning properties and are available to plants over a longer period than chemical products and ensure plants grow steadily and sturdily.

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