Things to Do in the Garden in February
Now that the first harbingers of spring are in flower and there’s an appreciable difference in the daylight hours, there is a feeling of hope in the air. The sight of snowdrops, aconites, crocus, hellebores, violets, primroses and catkins lift the spirits. February is the month to take a moment and wander around a garden admiring the young green shoots as they begin to ready themselves for blooming later in the year. A new gardening season is about to start. It’s time to prepare!
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.
It’s too early to apply synthetic or chemical fertilizers. These are useful later in the season to act as a quick tonic 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.