February is possibly the most optimistic month in the gardening year because now the garden is visibly waking up. After weeks of darkness, the days are perceivably longer, and I find it so good to get out and grab a few extra moments outdoors.
Snowdrops are the highlight of my February, and there are lots of gardens open to visitors where you can see snowdrops in ‘sheets’. I am told this is ‘the’ word for a drift of snowdrops. Anyway here are a few places you can see them in all their showy glory.
Goldsborough Hall, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
Burton Agnes Hall, Driffield, East Yorkshire
Brodsworth Hall, Nr Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Kiplin Hall, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Mount Grace Priory, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
In My Garden
A little flat and bland at the moment, but a small aperitif of daffys are leading up to the main event, for from now onwards the real show begins and lasts for many weeks.
In Your Garden
Prepare ground for hardy annuals. Clear and rake the ground if not too boggy.
Now is a good time to add organic fertiliser to your borders. Blood, fish and bone, seaweed or pelleted chicken manure is ideal.
Plant Lily of the Valley.
Keep forced hyacinths that have flowered early inside. Rather than throwing them out, plant them outside.
Pick small posies of any flowers you have. You may think these are all too tiny to pick, but little bunches can be held together with rubber bands.
Cut back your clematis. Any clematis that flower in late spring and early summer need a light pruning in February. Remove all overcrowded and straggly stems, cutting them as low down on the plant as you can. Tie in any stems that worked their way free from the plant support. Early spring flowerers and winter clematis varieties are happy as they are, and don’t need any attention now.
Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering. Cut back stems of dogwoods, willows and cotinus. Cut away vigorous climbers from windows and guttering.
Dogwoods are looking good at the moment, particularly in large pots. Well, mine are!
Force rhubarb shoots for an early crop. Note to self – go and visit Oldroyds to hear the forced rhubarb growing in sheds.
Scrub and hose down patios and paths to get rid of any slippery mud or moss. Another note to self – find a jet washer.
Visit some gardens for inspiration of layout and winter colour.