The February forecast predicts lots of on and off snow showers for the start of the month, so here are our top tips on what to do on snow days and beyond.
1) Remove original stakes from trees which are now well established. It may well be worth sawing them off at ground level rather than disturbing the root zone by trying to wriggle them loose.
2)Check that all establish cotoneaster, poplar, willow, standard roses etc., and other plants with tree ties are not too tight, and showing signs of strangulation!
3) Take hardwood cuttings of Forsythia, Deutzia, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Virginia creeper, Holly, Privet, Cotoneaster, Poplar, Willow, Gooseberries, Blackcurrants etc.
4) On days when snow and frost make work in the garden difficult, build a bird table with a flat base and a roof over it. Try preventing squirrels from reaching the table by fixing a biscuit tin inverted immediately under the table. A rim around the table will help contain seed but leave a gap for sweeping out.
5) Pot up or transplant last year’s hardwood cuttings.
6) Cut bushy Eucalyptus back to within 2-3” of the main stem to stimulate a flush of bushy growth.
7) Divide and replant Snowdrops ‘in the green’ as the flowers go over.
8) Plant a selection of dogwoods and willows with bright stem colours in an area that looks dismal and uninteresting in winter.
9) Now is a good time to do a soil test to identify the acidity or otherwise of your garden, this will help not only in your choice of plants to grow, but also any fertilizers you may wish to use.
10) Finish winter pruning of woody plants this month, first principles are to remove dead and diseased stems, then crossing branches, followed by a reduction in the height of the main stems in the case of roses.
11) Plant container-grown perennials towards the end of the month for an early start to the spring. If large plants, consider carefully dividing them before planting, we all enjoy getting a bit extra at no cost !!
12) Clean out and sterilize with boiling water all existing bird nesting boxes and erect new ones. Continue to feed the birds!
13) If the weather warms up, take the opportunity to prepare compost and boxes for sowing half-hardy annuals by the end of the month. You should have a heat source available for cold nights and early sowings.
14) Cut back Clematis Jackmanii and C. Viticella groups to about 30cm. Pyracanthas should be pruned to within 2 buds of the main frame except for required extensions, if not already done last autumn.
15) Prune shrub roses towards the end of this month to encourage growth from the base. Remove some old shoots but do not reduce the height too much as they tend to flower on older wood.
16) As Hamamelis species finish flowering, prune out branches that are crossing, in order to stimulate new growth.
17) Complete the cutting back of overgrown hedges this month. Also, make sure that the bottoms of existing hedges are cleaned out before the new growth commences.
18) Divide ferns and repot for rapid establishment. Start dahlias into growth for the production of early cuttings. Place the tubers in a peat type compost, and keep them moist in a temp. of around 13-18 deg. C
Posted 5th Feb 10:46am