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  1. sedum-ready-for-cutting-back-310x240

    Even in February, on mild days, you can make as start in the garden and cut back perennials. In fact, it’s an ideal time because the garden is waking up, and as the new growth comes through it can be hard to cut back all the old growth, without damaging the new.

    The image left is a Sedum, and the new growth is at the base. Before the new growth gets much taller is the time to take the secateurs to it and cut off the old growth. 

    This is true of many garden perennials such as Nepeta, Oregano, Epimediums, Alchemilla mollis, Crocosmia, Geranium, any of the perennials which have spent top growth which is dead and where there are now new shoots emerging at the base.

    Cutting back is different to pruning. When you cut back you remove all of last year’s growth whereas pruning is a means to shape a plant or shrub to produce the desired growth. February is a big pruning month. During February or early March it is time to prune Groups 2 & 3 Clematis, Roses and Wisteria.

    Summer flowering shrubs can be cut back and pruned in February and March. It is imporant to be sure the shrub is summer flowering. Spring flowering shrubs and climbers make flowers on last years wood, so if you prune ahead of flowering you will cut off the branches where the flowers would have formed. The result will be no flowers. 

    What to do in the garden in February a gardening guide.



  2. Bridgerton Wisteria

    Many of us  have been gripped by Bridgerton, the fabulous Netflix series. One of the reasons it is so enchanting is the fantastic sets which include marvellous flowers. The house above features throughout the series and is clad with a lovely climbing purple plant. What is it? A wisteria, a late springand early summer flowering climbing plant which is spectacular as displayed in the program. What cannot be seen from watching Netflix is that Wisteria also carries a powerful sweet scent.

    Wisteria is easy to grow as it is a vigerous climbing plant, but needs some attention to get it to flower. Lots of advise about How to Grow Wisteria and vidoes on YouTube. If you just want to admire marvellous Wisteria take a look at it in full bloom. 

    The Sunday Gardener has over 200 pages of gardening advice and tips


  3. Daffodil flowering in Jan

    This image was taken on 3rd January 2015, and it is genuine. The Daffodil was flowering in a sheltered border along side the Le Strange Arms Hotel,  Hunstanton in January.

    Does this mean nature is upside down? Our weather is much less predictable than it was and the seasons less defined. 

    For once it is not down to climate change, but the variety of daffodil. There are some very early flowering daffodils. I didn't plant this Daffodil, so I cannot be 100% certain, but I am fairly sure it is one of the early flowering varieties of Daffodil, the most common of which is  Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' which, in a sheltered spot, will flower from late December and January.

    This variety has the RHS garden merit award rhs_agm_logo-75x75 and is reliably hardy, although it is important to plant the bulbs deeply (at least 3x, preferably 4x the bulb depth) to keep it cool during the summer months.

    The fact this variety flowers so early is a reminder of the need when creating spring flowering displays with bulbs to check their flowering times.  Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'   is going to look good with early flowering crocus and dwarf Iris. Spring bulbs have a wide range of flowering times;  Tulips are spring-flowering but that is from March to May. Tips and advice on which bulbs to grow for a great display in the spring, information about growing Tulips and advice on the correct planting depths for bulbs.

    It's too late to plant spring bulbs for this year. If you would like to receive a monthly newsletter with gardening tips,  information and seasonal advice (which will remind you when to plant spring bulbs next year) please click here to subscribe.


  4. Agapanthus with winter mulch Agapanthus and scabious 310

    Not all varieties of Agapanthus are hardy, and withstanding winter can depend on where in the UK you garden. Parts of Hampshire and Southern counties are H3 which is acceptable to many Agapanthus, a lot of the North of England is H5+.

    If you garden in an area which is subject to low temperatures, frosts and snow you can either bring Agapanthus inside or if there is no room inside, apply a mulch. A good thick mulch can see the hardier varieties of Agapanthus through the winter even in colder parts of the UK.

    In the image above I left it a bit late to mulch, evidcenced by the snow. When is too late to mulch? This image is early January and if you have forgotton your Agapanthus, I would still mulch even in January and later because there is often more cold weather to come. We will not easily forget The Beast from the East. 

    To mulch, clear off as much snow and dead leaves as you can. Apply a thick mulch of 8cms, in the image I have used Strulch (of which I am a fan, its good stuff,) you can also use leaf mould, small bark chippings, organic garden material, straw or garden compost. Pack the mulch around the base of the plant but do not swamp the plant. You are tucking it in rather than covering it. The mulch can be removed in the spring, the good point about Strulch is it will rot down in situ and add to the organic matter in the soil. 

    If you are having problems getting your Agapanthus to flower, check out growing tips about Agapanthus and ensure they are growing in a sunny spot and fed regularly.