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Green fingers in Late Winter

All About West of the Hills Magazine is ten years old! Right from the start, Bridget from Caves Folly Nurseries has appeared with a regular column that reflects on her life in the outdoors, together with gardening ideas for the weeks ahead. This month, in typical style, she’s already looking forward to the coming season.

Spring is almost here and we are all eager to get outside in the garden and watch the magic begin. The bulbs are already growing well after such a mild beginning to the winter, so we should have some stunning displays.

There is still plenty to do in the garden preparing for spring and here are some jobs to do in February.

  • Cut back herbaceous perennials, deciduous grasses before new growth.
  • Prune climbing and rambling roses.
  • Prune any deciduous hedges or shrubs before the birds start nest building.
  • Tidy Jasminum nudiflorum (winter jasmine) shorten laterals to 5cms. 
  • Sow sweet peas in a glasshouse or cold frame for early flowers.
  • Dead head winter flowering pansies and violas in pots.
  • Finish clearing dead leaves etc. from the borders.
  • Sow vegetables such as Broad Beans, Salads, Leeks, and Onions under cover for early outdoor planting.
  • To reduce club root on Brassicas, apply lime to soil at 270gm per square metre.
  • Start warming soil for early planting by covering soil with polythene or cloches.
  • Prune Autumn flowering Raspberries back to ground level.
  • Finish any landscaping, construction work.

Here are jobs to do in March.

  • Cut back perennials such as Penstemon, Lavender and Perovskia.
  • Prune Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses.
  • Divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials.
  • Prepare ground for sowing a lawn (allow at least 4 weeks for the ground to settle).
  • Continue mulching borders with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, before growth starts. 
  • Sow early crops of cabbage, Brussels, Celeriac, Leeks, Onions and Peas in the green house to plant out later.
  • Peppers, Chillies, Aubergine, Tomatoes can be sown in a heated greenhouse. They will germinate at 21 celcius and need to be grown on at 17 celcius. Don’t be tempted to direct sow veg too early. Wait for the soil to warm up first.
  • Chit potatoes and place in a cool place with moderate light. Plant out early to mid-April.
  • Plant out soft necked garlic (Tuscany white, Solent White) cultivars.
  • Plant out Asparagus crowns in deep well manured trenches.
  • Plant an Alpine trough they provide a lovely display in spring.
  • Empty any permanent plants in containers and prune the roots or re-pot into larger pots in fresh compost.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to do something for your local wildlife!
  • Keep feeding the birds, they use lots of energy when mating and building nests!
  • Sow hardy cornfield annuals in open ground.

Be careful not to disturb any hibernating creatures when you are tidying up.

This list should keep you out in the fresh air for a while!

Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from 8th March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website:
www.cavesfolly.com

Thank you Bridget for 10 years of column writing - The All About Team