February Garden

Late February has been both chilly and mild, mornings not much above freezing, gradually warming into bright afternoons which are lasting noticeably longer. Today was such a day, starting slightly drizzly but settling by midday when the daffodil-hued sun made a welcome appearance. It’s wonderful to once again be able to get outside and feel its warmth .

The unmistakable sound of a lawnmower alerted me to one of my neighbours, enthusiastically striding up and down her front garden, giving the grass its first cut of the year. I’ll wait a while longer before tackling that particular job, but there’s plenty more to do – and see- as spring gathers momentum.

Crocuses are coming up every day, such a sight for sore winter eyes, cheerful little flowers and a source of sustenance for hungry creatures.

I planted a lot of anenome bulbs back in October, in pots and in the ground. So far, only the yellow ones have appeared. They certainly add a much-needed burst of brightness. I really hope the pink, red and blue varieties will soon follow.

Tulips are also starting to shoot, though they won’t flower until April.

Up until a couple of years ago, the focus of my gardening was only on the summer months, going into early autumn. For spring flowering, I would always plant daffodil bulbs, some crocuses and snowdrops, though they mostly failed to thrive. That was as far as it went, and I didn’t think about winter planting at all, relying for interest on a few evergreen plants and shrubs . More recently, I’ve wanted flowers all year round, so last year I introduced a few hellebores and heucharas. Despite supposedly being very hardy plants, the heucharas haven’t done too well in the exceptionally cold spells we’ve experienced this winter; those planted directly into the ground have coped better than those I potted, some of which have rotted. The hellebores have done well overall, and were a joy to behold on the gloomiest of days.

Can you spot the cat?

It’s so exciting to see new growth every day. It won’t be too long before the first of the small daffodils open, and the tulip bulbs have all sent up shoots. I planted more than ever last autumn and am looking forward to a rainbow of colours in April and May. Other than the green tub below which I remember contains a yellow variety, I’ve forgotten what I planted where, so I’m in for a few surprises.

One of many surprise containers

Elsewhere in the garden, the biennial foxgloves which I sowed from seed last spring have survived the winter. They haven’t started growing yet, though they can flower as early as late March if it’s warm enough. I hope they make it, as it’s very rewarding when those tiny seeds transform into beautiful, healthy plants. Fingers crossed.

My trusty spirea is producing her new spring buds, red now, eventually becoming light green leaves accompanied by tiny pink flowers in the summer.

My garden is tiny, but it provides limitless pleasure throughout the seasons. Whether you have an acre or a couple of pots, happy gardening!