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Green Fingers in February/March

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is getting ready for the gardening season to start again.

As I write this we are still in the grips of winter but there are signs of spring, with bulbs such as Snowdrops and Aconite showing buds.

February is the ideal month to get all those construction jobs in the garden finished. Cut back any herbaceous plants and tidy up borders, but watch out for hibernating hedgehogs and cover them back up if you unearth them!

Here at the nursery we will start to pot all the young plants we have raised from seed and cuttings at the end of last year. So many of our ornamental plants are imported into the UK and with plant diseases finding their way here, I have been trying to ‘do my bit’ by propagating as many plants as I can from my own plant stock as well as from seed. You can do this at home as well, it is very rewarding to raise a plant from seed and see it flourish in the garden.

Last year I was tempted by some Cucamelon seed. Initially they were a disaster, they germinated well and then sat still for weeks. As they originate in Mexico I expect they were disappointed with the weather. I missed selling them at the Malvern show and ended up giving them away to customers and friends. In the summer we were all rewarded with hundreds of tiny little melons which tasted a bit like cucumbers. They were great in salads and used in a salsa with tomatoes and chillies. 

This year I have been tempted to try some Goji berries, so let’s hope these need less a tropical climate.

Jobs in the ornamental garden
Make sure garden birds have food and fresh water. Clean dishes and feeders regularly to avoid diseases such as bird pox. Cut back late summer flowering Clematis to about 30 centimetres from the ground. Prune roses to promote strong young flowering stems. Cut back any old foliage on grasses such as Miscanthus. Prune summer flowering deciduous plants such as Buddleja, Caryopteris, Santolina, Penstemon and Lavenders. Sow annuals in plug trays and sweet peas.

Vegetable garden
Prune autumn raspberries, cutting all canes down to ground level. Force rhubarb for sweeter early stems by covering the crowns with straw and a container to exclude the light. Complete pruning of apple and pear trees, gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants.

At the beginning of March sow tomatoes, peppers and chillies in a heated propagator. Sow early leeks, early onions, cabbage, peas and lettuce under cover.
At the end of March sow broad beans, peas, cabbage, parsnip, beetroot and spinach under cloches when soil has warmed up.

With spring about to burst and the weather warming up there is a lot to look forward to outside in the garden.


Bridget runs Caves Folly Nursery 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: