CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Chris Beardshaw's garden tips for February

PUBLISHED: 14:51 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:40 20 February 2013

It's time to prune autumn-fruiting raspberries

It's time to prune autumn-fruiting raspberries

Before setting off on tour with Gardener's Question Time, our gardening guru has some tips on what to do in the garden during February

At a time of year when the vast majority of our gardens are starved of flamboyant flower colour there are just a few plants that work hard to convince you that the joys of spring are just around the corner. If you have a sheltered area of garden, particularly south or west facing wall or bed, and are looking for a new introduction to your garden this month then plant the Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata, a native to South East Australia and Tasmania.


This feathery leaved plant can reach tree proportions but here in the UK it is best suited to training loosely against a wall or fence which offers a little protection from cold winds. In addition to the decorative leaves, from which the common name is derived, it produces an unrivalled display of vivid, golden-yellow, furry pom-poms, massed on slender grey shoots. Even immature plants become such a riot of colour that the foliage and stems are concealed for up to two months. As well as providing cheery blooms, it emits a sweet fragrance that attracts not just gardeners but also early pollinating insects from miles around.


Fleece


Plants that start their growing or flowering in the first few weeks of the growing year are pitting themselves against the icy cold and frost that so often damage our early blooms. Young shoots and flowers are particularly vulnerable to frosting so when inclement weather is forecast wrap the plants in horticultural fleece. This should be left on only while the conditions are unfavourable (such as during a night of frosty wind) then removed in the morning to allow growth to continue. Never improvise with polythene as this causes the plants to sweat and can exacerbate the frosting.


Black Truffles


Regarded as one of the most addictive and potent aphrodisiacs, this small fungus is found growing on the roots of trees just below the soil. Shavings of the fresh truffles are used widely on food in the Mediterranean where the finest musky-flavoured crops are found. However, it is possible to cultivate crops in the UK by planting tree species specially treated with the fungi. Most successful are Hazel, Oak and Chestnut - but be patient as crops can take up to five years to mature.


Making Your Blooms Last


Enhance the flowering of cut roses by pushing a fine needle through the stem immediately behind the bloom. This allows any air in the stem to escape and avoids the rather embarrassing problem of blooms going limp before they have been admired. If your gift is of cut tulips, remember to trim the stems and turn the vase daily as their stems continue to grow and blooms will strain towards the light. When it comes to watering, refresh vases daily. Research shows that water temperature affects the length of flowering so use cold water for spring flowering blooms such as Tulips and Daffodils, but warm water for summer plants like Roses and Lilies.


Prune autumn fruiting Raspberries:


Raspberry canes that fruit in the Autumn, such as the unsurpassable Autumn Bliss, bear fruits on stems that are grown in the season of fruiting. Therefore, to ensure plentiful crops this year, prune existing stems down to 10 cm above ground. Then, apply a balanced fertiliser and top dress the pruned canes to a depth of 5 cm with organic matter to protect emerging shoots from the frosts.


Sow Coriander


An essential ingredient of Chinese, Thai, Indian and North African dishes and my green salads, this annual herb is best sown successionally in small pots of well drained soil-based compost from now to late summer. I sow thinly and dont over water to avoid seedlings bolting, and for the best flavour keep the pots in full sun.


Protect Naturalised Bulbs


Spring bulbs naturalised in the lawn, such as Crocus and Narcissus, should be emerging through the grass now. To avoid them being trampled or mown, during the first lawn cuts of spring, I use willow or hazel stems pushed into the ground to create a temporary informal fence.


My Diary


For the first half of the month I will be travelling around the country with Gardeners Question Time panel recording our weekly radio shows as well as doing a few evening talks of my own. Then from the middle of the month I head off to New Zealand to plant the show garden I have designed for the Ellerslie International Flower Show. It will be late summer for them so it will feel strange leaving our cold climes behind but I am really looking forward to bringing the scheme to life and having a chance to see something of the country whilst I am there. See more about what I am up to on www.chrisbeardshaw.com. If you want to ask gardening questions log onto www.gardenersclick.com

0 comments

More from Homes & Gardens

Mon, 15:12

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Mon, 15:11

From mini Norway spruces to luxury Nordman firs, here are eight of the best places to get a luscious, green tree in the Cotswolds this festive season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

After a new home in the Cotswolds or looking to relocate within the region? We bring you 16 of the best housing developments in the area

Read more

Neil and Alison Smith wanted a project, but then their old coach house began to reveal its interesting little glitches

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

When your wood flooring is in need of TLC, help is at hand, says Scarlett Harris of ATC in Cheltenham

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Martin Smart, a director at Shipston-based Hayward Smart Architects, extols the value of appointing an architect

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more

Sometimes it can seem like destiny plays a hand at where we end up living, as Fiona and John Owen discovered when they found their dream converted chapel in Chalford

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more

Water voles and trench warfare were just two of the problems faced by the family renovating a 1720s hunting lodge

Read more

The small, dark rooms of this 1850s cottage near Tetbury were completely reconfigured to open up the space

Read more
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Cirencester based kitchen manufacturer and showroom has won a prestigious national trade award for the second year running

Read more

When internationally-renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder bought her derelict 20-acre cattle farm near Cirencester nearly 30 years ago, she set about the huge task of designing and building a unique Cotswold stone home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search