Top jobs for February

1. Put a top dressing around plants after pruning, planting etc such as bark or gravel around alpines. This helps to improve the soil, suppress weeds, insulate roots and retain moisture during the summer.

2. Apply a general fertiliser to all plants. Apply the fertiliser where the roots are - roughly a similar area to the spread of the branches.

3. Regularly deadhead plants and sweep up fallen debris, to prevent disease spreading.

4. Provide food and water for garden birds.



• Cut back ornamental grasses and any other perennials that were left for some winter interest.

• Separate clumps of herbaceous perennials that have either become too large, that you want to propagate, are flowering poorly or have lost their shape.

• Plant Lily bulbs in pots for flowers in the summer.

• Deadhead winter pansies and other winter bedding to prolong the display.

• Top up pots and tubs with fresh compost.

• Check that stored Dahlia and Canna tubers are not too dry or wet.

• Lightly trim winter flowering Heathers when the flowers die off

• Divide Snowdrops after flowering

• Prune summer flowering shrubs  



• Tie in wall trained fruit trees and bushes

• Set Peaches, Vines and Nectarines into growth in a greenhouse

• Check stored fruit and discard any that are rotting

• Complete the pruning of fruit trees

• Apply Sulphate of potash to fruit to encourage good fruit growth. If your fruit trees are growing amongst grass, apply Sulphate of Ammonia too.



• Dig any un-worked vacant ground.

• Dig and store any root crops still in the ground.

• Check stored vegetables and removing any rotting or mouldy specimens.

• Sow early lettuce seed under protection. Plant out later for really early crops.

• Prepare runner bean trench [sweet peas too]. Dig a trench a full spade depth and dig plenty of well rotted compost or manure into the bottom. We sell a variety of suitable composts and manures.

• Sow Sweet Peas for planting out later.



• Lay turf and repair the lawn if it is not too wet or frosty but avoid compacting the soil.

• Cutting the lawn edges can really improve the look of your garden and save you work later on.

• If you need to mow the lawn set the cutting height to its maximum.

• Keep off the lawn in frosty weather. Spike lawns to help drainage. Greenhouses, Sheds and Houseplants

• Deadhead Amaryllis but leave the flower stalks to die down naturally.

• If you notice the leaves on potted Cyclamen turn yellow you may be overwatering them.

• Conservatory climbers can be pruned towards the end of the month.

• Prune Plumbago, passion flower and jasmine to two or three buds from the main framework.

• Plant new Grape Vines. • Check the glass is not loose after high winds.

• Clean out accumulated rubbish in preparation for spring.

• Check that the heating system still works.


Trees, shrubs, hedges and climbers

• Prune shrubs that have finished flowering and finish pruning deciduous trees.

• Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate deciduous hedges

• Prune climbers.

• It’s okay to move established hedges, shrubs, trees and climbers and plant new specimens.

• Continue to plant roses but remember not to plant them where roses have previously been planted to avoid replant disease.

• This is your last chance to take hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs such as:

- Salix,

- Forsythia,

- Ribes,

- Elaeagnus,

- Rosa,

- Weigela,

- Cornus,

- Chaenomeles

- Escallonia

• Summer-flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned between February and March to keep them tidy such as Buddleja davidii, Hydrangea paniculata,Ceratostigma, Lavatera, Leycesteria, hardy fuchsias, Perovskia and deciduous Ceanothus. Some of these can be cut back very hard (stooled).

• Delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs until immediately after flowering or you might lose this years display.

• Prune out shoots on hardy evergreens that should be two colours but are growing with only one colour – otherwise the whole plant could revert to one colour.

• Cut back Ornamental vines, ivy, Virginia creeper and Boston ivy now.

• Prune Wisteria by cutting back the sideshoots by two or three buds. Avoid cutting off flower buds.

• Prune Campsis stems by cutting back lateral branches to within two or three buds of he main branch.

• Attach a sheet of polythene to act as a curtain to help protect wall-trained specimens against infection and to improve the fruit set.

• Trees that have lost their leaves can be pruned now. Cut out dead, diseased and damaged wood. Thin out over crowded areas but avoid removing too much in one year. It is better to spread heavy pruning over several years and limit the amount of wood you remove at any one time to no more than a third of the total

• Check that climbers are securely tied to their supports and check that old ties are not constricting older thicker stems. It is a good time to take a look at tree ties and loosen them a little so that they are not beginning to garrotte swelling trunks. Prevent them slipping down both the tree and the stake by nailing the tie to the stake.

• Prune Clematis this month. Those that flower after mid summer should be cut back hard [they only flower on newly grown shoots] but those that flower before should be more lightly pruned to about 75cm. The smaller flowered and species Clematis generally only need pruning to confine them to the space you have for them.

• Put plenty of well rotted manure around your roses. Give them a liberal dressing of Toprose fertiliser as well.

• Plant new roses and fruit trees now. It is the traditional time to plant and they will be partly established when spring arrives.

• Drench Delphiniums, Gypsophila, Hostas, Lupins, Clematis and other slug and snail prone plants with Slug Clear liquid. Lots of slugs live in the soil and this will sort them out! Soils, mulching, weed control, etc

• Love them or hate them, Celandines can take over your garden and are very hard to control! Now is the time to get rid of them if you need to. They are actively growing already and are susceptible to a spray of Roundup now. This is a non selective weedkiller that is inactivated when it touches the soil but don't spray it on anything you want to keep.

• Add organic matter to heavy soils to improve the structure.


 Plants which are at their best in February

Rhododendron Praecox Thuya 'Rheingold'

Corylus Avellana 'Contorta' (Contorted Hazel)

Helleborus Orientalis (Lenten Rose)

Garrya Elliptica 'James Roof' (Silktassel Bush)

Bergenia 'Abendglut' (Elephant's Ears)

Clematis Armandii


Top Tip: Check whether pots and other containers need watering - even at this time of year, they can dry out.

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