February in the Garden

By Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erdigg Hall National Trust Garden.

Weather permitting; February can be a very busy month in the garden. We are in the garden here at Erddig, trying to finish the fruit tree pruning and start pruning our mammoth pleached lime avenues.

Tree and shrub planting should be coming to a close. Complete planting any large bare rooted trees and shrubs now, whilst they are still dormant. We have longer to plant containerised trees and shrubs.

Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots will soon be in blossom. To get a good fruit set, try helping by pollinating the flowers yourself. Traditionally gardeners would use a rabbit’s foot, but you may prefer a soft artist’s paintbrush. Brush over the blossom gently on a warm day and move the pollen from flower to flower.

In the greenhouse you can start to sow broad beans, peas and cauliflowers and maybe a few early salad leaves. Some half hardy summer flowers can be sown too, such as Begonias, Lobelia and Salvias. Dahlia tubers can also be started into growth, if you are going to take cuttings of the new shoots that emerge, to increase the number of plants you want. The same goes for Chrysanthemums.
Rooted cuttings of Geraniums (Pelargoniums) and Fuchsias can be potted up. Garden centres will also be stocking young plants of them too for you to grow on.

Parsnips and Turnip seeds can be sown outdoors. Towards the end of the month, Jerusalem Artichokes can be planted.
There is an old custom that says you should plant Shallots on the shortest day, but on heavier ground I like to plant them later in February.

There are several shrubs that can be pruned in February. Hydrangea paniculata, Spiraeas, Tamarix and Hypericum. Now is also time to prune large summer flowered Clematis.

Finally, test that lawnmower or strimmer, you will need them soon. Book them in for any repairs or servicing.