With Valentine’s Day coming up this month, why not show your outdoor space some love and get it ready for the gardening season ahead? Although spring might still feel quite far away, the first signs of longer, lighter days and better weather are definitely starting to show. Here are some of our favourite ideas for celebrating love of the garden:
Sow for success
February is a prime time to start sowing seeds of slower-growing, half-hardy annuals and perennial plants indoors. Summer bulbs such as dahlias, lilies and gladioli can be sown from next month, so it’s worth a trip to your garden centre to buy some in preparation.
If the ground isn’t frozen, you can still plant bare rooted hedges and trees, shrubs and roses but make sure you soak before planting.
If you are a fan of grow your own, start sowing seeds like beetroot, broad beans, carrots, leeks, aubergines, sprouts and tomatoes for a tasty homegrown harvest later in the year.
For the best chance of success, start seeds growing in your greenhouse or propagator to get a head start. Some seeds take up to a month to germinate so it’s best to start now and a sheltered greenhouse or a propagator on a warm, sunny windowsill will give them the ideal conditions to grow.
This month is time to start buying your seed potatoes and start off the chitting process, ready to plant after the last frost. This takes about 4-6 weeks, so if you chit them now, they’ll be ready to plant in mid to late March. It’s also time to start your onion sets, garlic, asparagus and rhubarb.
Make way for new growth
It’s best to do this now before your plants start to blossom and bud and the bird nesting season begins. Prune any dead, damaged and diseased wood to promote new growth. Cut back late summer flowering shrubs, such as buddleias to encourage floriferous displays that butterflies will love. Remove any old stems from roses and any stems that are congesting the middle of the bush.
If there is snow during the month, don't let it remain on trees or shrubs as the weight might break branches and stems.
Snowdrops are often a welcome site in winter and are the first flowers to pop their heads up above the soil. Dividing and replanting is a great thing to do in February to increase the amount. As the flowers begin to fade, dig up the snowdrops and gently tease the bulbs apart, then replant to make the blooms last longer.
Love your wildlife
Taking care of garden birds is an important job at this time of the year, as many natural food sources and fresh water either freeze or run out. National Nest Box week takes place on 14th - 21st February 2021, to encourage more people to put up nest boxes in their local area. We have a great guide to making your own bird box out of a terracotta pot, if you like to get creative.
For birds that visit your garden, water is a lifeline. They need to drink regularly even in the depths of a cold winter and bathe to maintain their plumage. A small ball placed in unfrozen water can help to prevent water freezing so birds have vital access to drinking.
Maintenance and TLC
February is a good time to rub down and treat wooden garden furniture. Thoroughly clean it with a brush to remove algae and moss that may have gathered over winter months.
You could also treat timber structures such as fences and sheds with wood preservative and stain. Also, whilst doing this, it is good to check your fences, trellis’ and arches for damage, repairing before your climbers burst into life.
This time of year, is a perfect time for collecting your garden’s water reserves, in case we have a dry summer. Consider fitting water butts in your garden to catch any rainfall that can be reused to keep your plants hydrated inside and out.
It’s also advised to check whether your lawn mower and other garden tools are in good working condition and haven’t been affected by the winter temperatures.
Plan an outdoor date
With love in the air this month, why not have a Valentine’s Day date outside in your garden? Sweep your loved one off their feet by lighting your garden with solar lights to create an intimate and magical atmosphere. Snuggle with a woolly blanket and comfy pillows on your outdoor furniture whilst watching the stars. Why not gather around a romantic firepit and watch the flickering flames together or enjoy alfresco cooking by making your beloved a meal outside on the BBQ for a unique dining experience?
With February named after the Latin word “februum” which means purification, there is no better time to get planning for your garden of dreams this year.
Want some more tips on how to rekindle your love affair with the garden?
- Caring For Garden Birds In The Winter And Make Your Own Feeder
- How To Care For Your Garden Furniture Through Autumn & Winter
- Growing A Windowsill Garden: How To Create A DIY Propagator Reusing Household Waste
- Five Ways A Fire Pit Can Help You Achieve The Ultimate Garden This Year
- Make Your Own Coloured Terracotta Pot Birdhouse