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It’s February already, so what’s going on in the garden?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

It’s February and it seems like we are getting a similar dose of  weather to January, with a mixture of rain, sunshine and low temperatures. At the point of writing there’s no promise of snow, although cold air above Scandinavia may move southward and bring with it a colder spell.

So I’m afraid you need to wrap up warm in the garden, plus watch the weather forecast for frosts and keep your less hardy shrubs wrapped in fleeces.

The RHS provide a really useful list of jobs for you to consider in February. This covers work you can be getting on with, both in and out of doors:

  1. Prepare vegetable seed beds, and sow some vegetables under cover
  2. Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches
  3. Net fruit and vegetable crops to keep the birds off
  4. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering
  5. Divide bulbs such as snowdrops, and plant those that need planting “ in the green”
  6. Prune Wisteria
  7. Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate overgrown deciduous hedges
  8. Prune any climbers in conservatories or greenhouses
  9. Cut back ornamental grasses left uncut over winter

Other things to be considering….

-       Cut back any dead foliage you’ve left over the winter period

-       Prune back Hydrangeas to their new shoots

-       Prepare the borders for planting

If the weather starts to improve you may find it’s necessary to cut the lawn, although don’t cut it too short, and avoid going on the lawn if it remains sodden. One job you can do is to tidy up the edges as this will help reduce your tasks for March.

Turf can be laid provided that the soil is not too wet or frosty. If you have to carry this out then work from planks to avoid localized compacting and creating an uneven surface. Whatever you do, avoid walking on the new surface for a number of weeks to allow the root structure to establish.

When preparing the beds look at the soil conditions and consider improving these. For example given the heavy rains of December and January you may have noticed a drainage problem. If you have heavy soil work in some organic matter and horticultural grit to help improve the nutrients and drainage.

Mixing in a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, can help suppress weed growth, protect plants from fluctuations in temperature, and

retain moisture during the warmer months.

Last month we talked about garden repairs. If the dreadful weather we’ve all experienced hasn’t allowed you into the garden yet, then don’t forget to get these projects out of the way before the growing season! So this includes broken fences, damaged shed roofs, rotten pathway gravel board edges, plus compost and raised bed repairs.

Talking of repairs. During these more dormant periods it’s also worth tidying out the shed, and clearing out any broken tools that can’t be fixed, broken pots etc. Also remember to have serviced any power tools including the mower, hedge trimmer, strimmer and blower. Always ask your repairer to sharpen the blades, or replace them in the case of a heavily utilised mower. If you haven’t used the tools for a while it’s worth remembering that the fuel can go stale, so when you take any items in for servicing ask them to refresh this.

Flowers to look out for in February include; Snowdrops, Hellebores, Violets, Winter Jasmine and of course those early Daffs.

Please do let me have your thoughts and contributions.  Also feel free to fire any gardening questions at me and I’ll do my best to answer these for you in the next edition. This is my email address    reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

I hope you enjoy February in your garden.

Best wishes

Tim Sykes, 07725 173820

Happy New Year from View

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

View is the quarterly update from Gardenproud on what’s new in the garden.

The new 2014 edition is out now. You can order a copy in the post, or via email. Just send an email request to info@reallygardenproud.com

In this quarter’s edition are Gardening Tips, 2013 Highlights from Gardenproud, some ideas for Window Boxes, details of our latest Equipment updates – of special interest to the demands of larger gardens, our latest recruit, and news of our latest Design Projects.

Know Your Gardener – Brett Ketteringham

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Brett sights the outdoor lifestyle and closeness to nature among the key attributes of his job.

He started his gardening career in 1995 training at Brooksby Melton College where he gained a National Certificate and
Diploma in Horticulture.

He went onto work as a Field Trials Assistant with what is now known as Garden Organic (the foremost organic society in Europe), before embarking on a more focused gardening career. This led to a spell working with a landscape company, where he was involved with garden projects for commercial enterprises.

Brett then became Solo Gardener in Charge at a 40 acre estate in Tenterton and Head Gardener at a Manor House in Brenchley.

He now helps Gardenproud care for a number of the larger properties in their portfolio. His wealth of experience also involves him in specialist activities including spraying, lawn care, flower meadow creation and maintenance, and small tree felling.

Brett is married to a primary school teacher and lives in Battle, East Sussex.

Outside of gardening his key interest is biking, having just restored an Aprilia RS250 which he plans to take to Track Days.

Favourite flowers:    Dahlias

Gardening dislikes:  Bindweed and Ground Elder