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FebruaryIn the Garden This Month
As Spring advances, with lengthening days and warmer weather, there will be signs of life in your garden this month. Look out for spring flowering bulbs starting to push through the soil. The nodding, green and white blooms of Snowdrops (Galanthus) are a welcome sign of milder weather. Snowdrops are soon followed by Crocus and early Daffodils. In favoured locations you may also spot the first Primrose flowers and Hazel catkins, or ‘Lambs Tails’ will be lengthening – a sure sign that spring is on the way!
Early perennials such as Pulmonaria (Lungwort), with their hairy leaves and clusters of tubular flowers are a welcome source of pollen for early Bumble bees. Bergenia (Elephant’s Ears) will still be wearing their winter coat of deeper coloured leaves, soon to be replaced by fresh greens as the plants grow away again for the year. Look closely and you will see tight flower buds that will soon open to large, brightly coloured flower heads.
Many winter flowering shrubs are deliciously scented to attract the fewer pollinating insects that are around at this time of the year. Sarcoccoa (Christmas Box) has a sweet scent from the masses of tiny flowers, while winter flowering Viburnum x bodnantense is much more showy. Clusters of deep pink flowers are sweetly scented and appear throughout the Winter from November to March.
Listen carefully and you will almost certainly hear the chiming call of the Great Tit on sunny days. St Valentine’s Day is said to be the time that the birds pair up for the breeding season, so many others will be in fine voice as well. It is not too late to put up nest boxes for the coming season.
During the start of your spring tidy up, you may come across adult Ladybirds, hibernating in dry plant matter. Leave these plants undisturbed until the residents have left and they will do you a favour by producing larvae which can eat many times their own weight in aphids – a common garden pest! Frogs will be emerging from their winter hibernation places and start to return to their spawning grounds, so you may spot frog spawn in your pond this month as well.
Not sure what to do in the garden this month? Try our February Jobs List.