February in the garden

As trailed in my previous post, I’ve decided to start a series on the blog using highlights from my Instagram gallery to chart the garden through the year. And so, without undue ceremony, let me welcome you to the first post in that series. This week, as we get ready to leave winter behind, I’m taking a look back at February 2017.

The gardening corner of every social media platform was awash with hellebore shots – often with a self-deprecating caption along the lines of “The obligatory hellebore pic”. Why so apologetic, I want to know? They’d be a wonderful plant at any time of year, but in winter when there’s little else but snowdrops about, they rule the garden. 

Take a look at the Instagram gallery of Lucy Clements for some particularly impressive fancy hellebores.

Posting pictures of garden problems can garner helpful advice on Instagram. I’ll be giving this old apple tree, beset by the dreaded honey fungus, a good spraying with a seaweed solution once it’s in leaf, in order to give it a fighting chance for another few seasons. 

One garden is overrun by couch grass, particularly, though not exclusively, in the veg beds. It’s not the worst of weeds to contend with, though it can run riot if left to its own devices. Quite satisfying to get stuck in and clear a patch ahead of this year’s sowings, though.

Nippy out here. I've popped back in to make some bread. And maybe eat cheese. #tw #winter

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It’s that time of year when all green fingers start itching to get seed sowing. Some are more organised than others – my seed collection needs a little rationalisation! I posted a ‘warts and all’ picture of the shelf in my shed where my seed collection lives, which deservedly resulted in me being branded an “amateur” by Beryl who, not content with being the brains behind the great blog Mud and Gluts, is also the queen of the seed-swap and enthusiastic member of the #gdnbloggers community.

Hmm. Got me a spot of seed sorting ahead. #shedsofinstagram

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“I suppose you've been really quiet for the last few months”, say the non-gardeners. That’s right, because the fairies prune all your fruit trees, wisterias, roses and vines. By February the sinews in a gardener’s forearms are like metal rods, and her grip is positively hydraulic. 

Once all the pruning is done, I'll be moving on to those perennials whose attractive seed heads earned them a reprieve from the chop over winter. For now, the birds have a few weeks yet to grab an easy snack, and we can enjoy the sight. 

February is also a time of year when scented shrubs come to the fore. I allowed myself to be led by the nose to a couple at Broadview Gardens when I visited last week. 

We’re ending February as we did January, with snowdrops, except now they’re properly open. Later here in the south east than normal by several weeks. But then winter has been – unusually – quite wintery. 

Found nestling among the leaves of a hibernally snoozing gunnera. #galanthophile #snowdrops #tw

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Chance find of this slightly battered, double-flowered #snowdrop, variety unknown. #galanthophile #muddyhands #earthy

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