Lucy’s Garden Journal – February
20 Feb 2021
February – it’s still very much a case of clearing for me. I’m almost there and am reaping the rewards for my efforts as the bulbs are beginning to come up. It’s such an exciting month because you’re enjoying those earliest signs of spring.
This February is especially exciting for me because any day now, my glasshouse will be finished. My peach tree has gone in and soon I shall put my raspberry canes in too.
I also spend much of February on slug watch if truth be told. My small, feathery kales can be demolished just like that and my whole crop can disappear overnight if I don’t keep my wits about me!
One of the garden tasks that brings me great joy in February is tending to hellebores. My white one has gone right through winter, and is only of the only ones that I didn’t cut back. I just love how it looks and it’s still giving. Can you see that new shoot just beginning to peep through too?
The pinkier hellebores I did cut back however and now they’re coming good again. The best time they say to cut back is late winter, and I did mine in January sometime. It didn’t take long to see the new buds to come forth. You can leave the leaves but I was a bit ruthless. It’s wonderful seeing they come anew. It’s so easy to think a hellebore is finished when you see it flopped over in a harsh winter frost. But if you leave them to thaw, they come good again. They’re very hardy souls.
A part of the garden I love at this time of year is where I planted back in autumn my kales. I have one called kale Redbor and it’s gone past harvesting now – it’d be much too tough to eat – but I like it here for structure and colour more than anything.
I’ve planted plum-coloured tulips amongst them that are almost black they’re so dark. When they come up, it’ll be so beautiful to look up and see them together from the courtyard. If they work that is!
I’m never sure what is best to plant side by side. My companion planting is very much a Google job; I’m learning all the time. I go with what I like visually, make sure they won’t harm one another, and then hope for the best. These here kales are called Black Magic. My smaller kales (Peacock White I think they’re called) are the ones that we save for salads and suppers if the slugs don’t get them first!
Back to flowers, one of my favourites – the Snake’s Head Fritillary – is coming up at this time of year too. It’s so unusual with its chequerboard petals. I have lots in my pots as fillers – spring perennials that bloom early and brighten up my pots. Another flower I’m ever so excited about is that huge one beginning to sprout. That’s one of a few Fritillaria Persica that I’ve planted and it will be rather huge when it’s finished. It’s a true delight to see it starting to sprout as the bulb’s been tightly tucked under its blanket of soil all winter long. I feel genuine happiness when you see what’s survived the coldest, harshest months of the calendar.
And finally, a first glimpse inside the glasshouse: these are my geraniums and pelargoniums. I planted varieties such as Gibbosum, Sidoides and Exstipulatum as small saplings – I like to bring them on myself if I can. Delicate plug plants are one step on from a seed for me. Still risky and not an established choice because I enjoy rearing them. I shall be keeping everything crossed for them in the days and weeks to follow…
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