It may still be cold, damp and at times miserable outdoors, but a dose of sunshine could awaken the gardening bug in you! Here’s a list of chores for your February Gardening Calendar.
Weeding: It’s true, while you’ve been busy taking down your tree and putting away your outdoor decorations (yes, it’s time – sorry but no one wants to see an inflatable snowman in February), the weeds have been busily colonizing your garden. It’s one of the realities of living in paradise – the weeds never stop growing….Our preferred weapons for weeding are a good strong pair of garden gloves and maybe a dandelion digger.
Pest Control: Now’s your last chance to apply dormant spray. Using horticultural oil and lime-sulphur while your deciduous trees and shrubs (eg many fruit trees and roses) are still dormant is an important step in controlling pests and disease. Follow labels carefully and only use on a still day when temperatures are above freezing. Do not use on evergreens or conifers as it could damage their leaves.
Fertilizing: Mid to late February is the time to fertilize trees, shrubs and evergreens. Use a rhododendron type fertilizer such as Nurseryland Rhodo and Azalea 6-12-8 to feed evergreens like junipers, conifers, broadleaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use a rose or all-purpose garden type fertilizer to feed roses, fruit and flowering trees, plus other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water-in thoroughly after application. Liquid seaweed or fish fertilizers are great for maintaining plant health when a diluted solution is applied regularly.
Pruning: February is the best time to prune certain plants. Maples, dogwoods, elms and walnuts should not be cut in late winter/early spring as they ooze sap this time of year if cut. You also want to avoid pruning anything that blooms in the spring as those plants will have already formed buds and should not be pruned until after flowering. When in doubt, consult a reliable resource. Always work with clean sharp tools and remove the 3 D’s first (dead, damaged and diseased). After that you can prune for shape, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Fruit trees now is the ideal time to prune your fruit trees prune for shape and better fruiting by opening up the canopy to allow more light and air flow. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer such as Black Gold All Purpose, available in our Garden Centre.
Grapes and kiwis should be pruned now as well as figs.
Cane fruits (raspberry, blackberry, loganberry): remove old unproductive canes to make way for new ones. Cut autumn-fruiting raspberries to ground level, but remove only last year’s canes of summer-fruiting ones.
Berries: Remove about a third of the oldest stems on blueberries, currants and gooseberries.
Cut down any remaining perennial stems, taking care not to damage emerging shoots.
Cut ornamental grasses right down before new stems appear. To make quick work of large clumps of grass, bind stems together using a bungee cord. Cut stems beneath the cord using electric hedge clippers. You are aiming for a ‘bunny-tail’ shape.
Summer flowering vines such as trumpet vine, hops and passion vine can all be pruned from late February into March. With clematis, a good general rule is this: If it blooms before June, don’t prune.
Seasonal colour: Hellebore, heather, evergreen grasses and winter pansies and primula add color and interest to the winter garden. We also have potted daffodils, hyacinths and primula in flower now – you don’t even have to plant them, just tuck the pots in amongst your existing plantings to brighten your day!
Houseplants. Remove any leggy growth to encourage sprouting from the base. We like to use Holland Greenhouse floral scissors. Repot houseplants as needed, giving them as much sunlight and air circulation as possible afterward. Start fertilizing when you spot new growth and now is a good time to remove any dust build up on your plants. You can give them a gentle shower, wipe the leaves off with a damp cloth or use Miracle Gro Leaf Shine.
Lawn Care: Debris, such as fir needles and other leaves, should be removed. A good firm raking will also loosen some of the moss that has probably taken advantage all winter long. It’s still too early to over-seed or fertilize though. Limit traffic on frozen or wet, saturated lawns.
Feed the birds! Our feathered friends are grateful for extra food over the winter. Suet blocks are convenient to use and provide high energy food for birds in this cold weather. It’s a good idea to have two hummingbird feeders, if one freezes, you have fresh nectar ready and you don’t have to worry about the feeder cracking. Once this cold snap is done, it will be time to move the mason bees outside. View our full collection of ‘Save the Bees’ products here.
Seasonal maintenance: Gently remove snow from branches of broad-leaf evergreens such as Rhododendrons and bamboo to avoid damage from the weight of the snow – especially if there is an icy build up! While you’re in maintenance-mode, don’t forget to tidy the garden shed, disinfect and sharpen tools, too.
Seeds to start now: Peas, broad beans and mustard can all be direct sown after the middle of the month. Forget-me-nots, poppies and wild flowers are some popular flowers that can also be sown right into the beds. Arugula, artichokes, leeks, onions, and many herbs and flowers can be stared indoors now, to be transplanted later. Heat mats, grow lights and growing chambers like Sunblast Growlight Garden provide your seedlings with a good strong start. View our full selection of seeds here.
Microgreens are always fresh and easy to grow any time of year! Nutri-Green Microgreen Kits makes it simple.
Design Tip: Adding some illumination to the garden is a great way to make the best of long winter nights. Patio planter lights can be placed where you can see them. And for those with water features, the Mist Maker will enhance your winter pondscape with its subtle multi-coloured lights. View our online collection of water feature lighting here.
Speaking of ponds, it’s best to just leave them alone right now. If you have fish, they will be hibernating so even if your pond is frozen, fear not, your fish will be ok!