LATE FEBRUARY IN THE GARDEN
- Dig over vegetable beds and sprinkle lime (horticultural type), it’s a must for all vegetables except potatoes.
- Perfect time for planting bare-rooted hedging.
- On well-prepared beds plant out garlic and onions.
- On a dry day get out the lawnmower and top the lawn.
- Plant dahlia tubers in pots.
In an ideal world, all pruning of roses would have been carried out in December to January unfortunately, most of us do not live in that ideal world. It’s high time to carry out rose pruning. Spring growth has started and if you leave pruning much longer you’ll be cutting off a lot of new growth, putting your roses under pressure and actually delaying flowering time. How much to prune will depend on the variety, hybrid teas, and floribundas which are the most popular type usually growing 3-4 feet in height are pruned back quite hard to within one foot off the ground or lower. Remove dead or very light shoots completely, the remaining stems are cut back to just above outward facing buds, this will encourage the bush to remain open in the centre allowing more light and air thus reducing disease problems. Shrub roses and the modern David Austin varieties will benefit from a lighter pruning. Shorten back the main stems by a 1/3 and shorten back the side shoots on the main stems removing any very weak stems. Follow much the same procedures for climbers, if you can tie in the stems at a 45% angle, this will result in more flowers and less growth. Rambling roses should have been pruned in late summer, the procedure being to remove all stems that have just finished flowering and tie in the new fresh growths for the next flowering season. If you missed this time slot, do it now or wait until next July or August, at most cut off some of the old stems, you will know by the colour, older stems tend to be grey/brown whereas younger stems will be green. Now is the time to feed your roses with lots of good compost and a good quality granulated rose fertilizer. Did you know that if you plant garlic beside your roses it helps to keep greenfly away and you can harvest the garlic in autumn? If you’re planting garlic now put it in the fridge a couple of days beforehand and when planting push a clove or two into the ground 2” per rose bush and while you’re at it plant some parsley and this will intensify the scent, leave some room for Nepeta Kit kat which will be available in a month’s time. All the above are a happy family benefitting from each other’s company.