in the know

What to do in your garden in February..

It’s February, it’s still cold and wet and gets dark early, so it hardly feels like the tie to be pulling on the gardening gloves, but spending a little time in your garden now will pay dividends all summer long.

So, what are the jobs you can be doing now? We’re not mad gardeners here – the closest we get to horticultural excellence is watching Gardeners World on the BBC each week, dreaming of lush tropical gardens and wondering how long it would take to plant 100 tulip bulbs, but – and this is the important part – we all love spending days and evenings in our gardens, pottering about, sitting around and generally enjoying being outside. We don’t need to tell you it’s good for your mental health. And if there’s one thing we have learned, it’s that saying “oh, it’s too much effort, I can’t be bothered” is a self-fulfilling prophecy – actually getting out there and doing something results in a sense of smug content very few other things deliver. 

These are our six favourite things to do in February, when the ground is wet and cold, so nothing but snowdrops and crocus are making headway.

  1. Weed out grass and interloping weeds from the borders.

Even in the colder months grass will creep into the flower beds, along with the sort of weeds that know how to take advantage of a gardener’s back being turned. The good thing is that in February the soil is wet and weeds and grass are easy to lift out. Use a long-handled hoe or special long-handled weeding tool (Amazon or your local garden centre will have many options) so you can avoid stepping in the beds as much as possible – and kneeling! If you do have to step in the beds, use the tool afterward to lift and loosen the soil where you stood, to avoid compressing it. After quite a short period of work, suddenly your beds will look all fresh and clear and ready to burst forth with the plants you actually want in there, leaving you feeling pretty smug.

  1. Edge the borders

Now is a good time to use an edging tool to slice fresh edges along your flower beds, before the grass starts an irresistible creep into the borders. It’s another quick win.

  1. Tidy away the last of last summer’s dead foliage

The winter months will have completed its task of fully killing off the leaves and stems of your flowering perennials, so it’s time to lift them away from the base of the plant, making space for this year’s growth.

  1. Rake up the last of the leaves

There will no doubt be a scattering of leaves across lawn and in your flower beds. Rake these up and dispose of them, don’t add them to the compost heap. They tend to rot as the weather warms up, not break down into leaf mould. This allows your spring bulbs to push through and summer perennials to do their thing,

  1. Get your lawnmower serviced

If you’ve got an electric mower, check the  it’s just a matter of checking the blades aren’t damaged (if they are plastic they are easily replaced) and that the bottom of the mower is clean. For petrol mowers, unless you’re a mechanic, we recommend taking it to a professional. 

  1. Get out the pressure washer

Now is the ideal time to remove any build up of that ugly green algae or black algae from the patio and paths. If you don’t have a pressure washer, use a stiff brush and a patio and path cleaner. Pressure washers are more fun however, so have a shop around, or make a pact with a friend or neighbour to share the joy,

Just a few hours over a few days will leave your garden prepped and ready to look great this summer, and you feeling like a superhero.

Next time we shall talk about planning your spring planting for 2025 (nothing more strenuous than photography…) – and fruit and veg.

Eddie – Friday 2nd February 2024. (Picture used from Alderfield Road, Chorlton).