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Gardening in February

As we move to the end of winter, things begin to stir in the garden in February – not least snowdrops and spring-flowering bulbs. The weather at this time of year can be very variable – warm days followed by severe frosts and cold winds – which can severely affect young growth and new plants. Always check the current and upcoming weather conditions when considering what to do in the garden.

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Light gardening at this time of year is very beneficial for both body and mind.
Bare-rooted trees and shrubs are a cheaper alternative to container-grown plants – but get them planted by the end of the month.
Check chitting potatoes and make sure they have enough light and it’s not too warm for them.
It’s probably too cold to sow veg seeds outside, but warm the soil with clear polythene for an early start in March.
Lift and split congested clumps of snowdrops after flowering ‘in the green’.
Check chitting seed potatoes to ensure they’re producing short, stocky, dark green shoots.
Add some future winter colour with snowdrop plants ’in the green’.
Topdress trees, shrubs, fruit and other long-term plants growing in containers with fresh compost.
Plants may start growing during warmer spells, so check compost in containers doesn’t dry out.
Give all fruit a good start to the year by applying a general-purpose balanced feed.
Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries by cutting down all the canes to the ground.
Prune winter-flowering shrubs immediately after they finish flowering.
You can install a garden pond at any time of year, but it’ll establish faster if you do it now.
Garden birds are particularly in need of high-energy food during cold and freezing weather.
Plant lily bulbs for a colourful summer display.
Continue drawing up your plans for this year’s vegetable cropping and order seeds and other planting material.
Install water butts and other water-collection systems to save water.
Cover the blossom of early-flowering peaches and nectarines with fleece to protect from frost damage.
Check tree stakes and ties are secure and that ties are neither too loose nor too tight.
Tie wall shrubs and climbers securely to their supports to protect them from wind damage.
Check all your tools are in good working order and maintain them as necessary.
Create new lawns, or repair damaged ones, by laying fresh turf.
Prepare the soil for new lawns being laid from seed in spring.
Spiking the lawn with a garden fork will help reduce water logging problems.