Goodbye January!

February 6, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-42.JPGI don’t know about you, but I’m always glad to see the back end of January. It always feels such a long dull month, however as we’re now into February, the days are getting noticeably longer and spring is just a month or so away.

The crown of bulbs and herbaceous perennials are now starting to break through the ground, which is a welcome sign that the garden is starting to stir and wake up after its winter slumber.

As the days hopefully get a little milder and warmer we can start to get out and potter in the garden. There’s always the general tiding up that can be done anyway this month, and if you haven’t already, then you can now cut back your herbaceous perennials.

At the moment my own Clematis armandii has such a lot of new buds on it and I know it will look gorgeous next month when it will be covered with scented white tinted with pink flowers. This Clematis is a vigorous evergreen climber and only needs to be pruned to keep it in the shape that you want, whereas late-flowering Clematis should now be pruned back hard to a strong new bud about twelve inches from the ground.

One question that I am quite often asked is when and how to get a Wisteria to flower? A young Wisteria plant can take up to seven years to flower and the way to get it to produce more of its wonderful scented pendent flowers is by pruning twice a year; now in February and then again in the late summer.

Check your fruit trees this month if you haven’t done so and prune out any damaged or diseased branches or any stems that are crossing and rubbing together. You can then prune to give your fruit tree an improved shape, the aim being to open up the centre of the tree to allow in more light and towwwgardendesignercouk-41.JPG allow more air circulation in order to keep the tree nice and healthy.

This month we can already start some lawn maintenance and when the lawn is dry enough to walk on, it’s worth brushing off any worm casts. Another job worth doing this month is to dig over flower or vegetable beds so that the soil can settle during the winter rains.

If you’re keen to get your vegetable garden going early then you could buy or make your own cloches with strong wire and polythene. Use cloches to cover up the soil to allow it to warm up for some early sowing of your crops.

If you have any shrubs that may have outgrown their place, then this is a great month to move them to another part of your garden. This week in my own garden I’ll be moving a large Hebe and after the long January we’ve just had, it’ll be great to get back outside into the garden, dust off those winter cobwebs and get some fresh air.


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