Today, as I sit and write this column, the sun is streaming
in my windows.
It's reflecting off the leftover snow and making the garden bright
inviting. Perhaps you're yearning to be out in the yard, but
it's OK to do at this time of year. Well, there are a number
of things you
can do, and several you should.
A calm, clear day in February is just perfect for dormant
Lime and sulfur are organic substances that are combined with
sprayed on roses, fruit trees and other deciduous trees and shrubs
prone to fungal problems. Just ask at your local garden centre
Oil. It's called dormant because it must be applied when the
completely dormant. It will blacken any leaves that are still
your roses, so it's best to give them a light trim before spraying.
would also want to gather up any rose leaves that are on the
you've been having problems with black spot, and not put them
in the compost.
Brian Minter advises spraying three times through the winter,
November, January, and late February. As soon as buds begin to
March it's too late.
Another chore that's fine to do at this time is pruning
of deciduous plants.
If you know it's hardy enough to stand up to the last month or
winter, you can prune away. Borderline roses, summer clematis,
and fuchsias that you want to keep as big as possible are best
after the new leaves pop out. That way you can see the winter
just trim that much away. Let the forsythia be your indicator
these types of things.
There are several things you really should avoid this month.
us to keep off the lawn. When it's full of water, as so many
are in this
part of the country, walking will compact the soil and possibly
yard into a giant mud pit. Of course, you are going to walk on
the lawn a
bit, but if you need to work in one area, try putting down a
distribute your weight. You might also be tempted to start turning
your vegetable garden. Check the water content of the soil. If
anything like mine, the clay doesn't dry out enough to break
up until late
May. (yes, these are raised, amended beds!) If you're desperate
something to do, you can dig over the veg bed, but leave the
clods as they
land, and let time dry them out and break them down. And of course,
stand on a board at this time of year.
So you can get out and do a little pruning, a little spraying,
tidy-up, and a bit of digging. You can also wash your windows
now before things leaf out and get in the way. I'd recommend
urge to start moving plants around though, for a couple of reasons.
Transplants will need sun, water and nutrients to do well in
spots, and may not be growing vigorously enough to bounce back
move. If it freezes again, they'll be harder hit. And, if you
spring bulbs and perennials start to poke their heads above the
ll be less likely to accidentally dig into them as you get into
Days are still short, and the rain will be back soon. So
you have plenty of
time yet to enjoy the main February gardening chore: sitting
in a comfy
chair, with a warm drink at hand, and a stack of garden catalogues
lap. It doesn't matter if you never order anything from them.
are full of ideas, and February is still a time for dreaming.