Winter is the traditional down-time in the flower garden, but as February moves on, light levels get better and seed sowing will start. Early in the month is the perfect opportunity for getting outside for a few hours on a dry day and preparing for the sowing frenzy that is to come.
Here are our top tips for #5things to get on with this month.
- Weed your beds thoroughly on a dry day, order some bulk bags of compost and mulch the ground.
- Order seed compost so that you can get going in the latter half of the month. We’re experimenting with some peat-free seed compost this year – better for the environment and, we hope, just as good for our seeds.
- Prune winter flowering shrubs after flowering, which will allow the maximum time for the development of young growth to provide the following year’s flowers before the end of the summer. Cut any damaged or dead shoots back to their point of origin or to ground level. Where there are many stems remove some to ground level to keep the bush open. Finally take out any weak, spindly or twiggy shoots right to the point of origin or to ground level so the plant concentrates its resources on strong new shoots that will bear the best flowers. Each year cut out up to 20 percent of ageing stems to near the base.
- After they have flowered, lift and divide snowdrops ‘in the green’ and replant to increase your stock for next year. Much more effective than planting dry bulbs.
- Start dahlia tubers stored over the winter into new growth. Divide the tubers when shoots are 2-3cm (about an inch) tall by separating them into portions, ensuring each section has both roots and shoots. Pot each section into a separate container and grow on until they are ready to plant out after the risk of frost is over.
Once all this is done you’ll be ready for seed sowing in a few weeks’ time.