Down to earth advice for Derbyshire’s Gardeners - February

Shrubs in containers can suffer from root death and dehydration in freezing weather. Move them into an unheated greenhouse or frost free spot closer to the house.

Also in the greenhouse you can start to sow some seeds if it is heated. Sow onions and carrots, plant shallots and garlic.

By now you will be itching to get sowing seeds outside on milder days. Well, patience is a virtue!  It won’t be long before you are starting off your sweet peas, and broad beans, but for now, preparation is the key!

Propagate some extra shrubs & perennials by taking hardwood or root cuttings, for yourself or to give to friends. Dig up, divide and re-plant perennial plants that have been undisturbed for a few years. This will encourage healthy growth and encourage them to produce more and better blooms.  

Mushrooms and toad stools on the lawn are a pest, some gardeners say.  If you don't want them, brush them off or use the mower. However, leave them and bring a bit of magic to your garden, you may even see a fairy! 
Unless your lawn is very new, scarify and spike now. Clear any leaves off, as in damp weather, they can harbour fungus underneath, and you end up with a yellow lawn.

If you're thinking of seeding a new lawn in spring then you need to be preparing the ground now. Dig the area over making sure you remove all perennial weeds. Leave the soil clumpy and rough as the weather will break this down.

Clear out all fallen leafs and twigs from the pond. Place thin netting over the pond if possible. If leaves are left to rot in the pond, dangerous gases build up and could kill any fish you have. Remove your pump, fountain and filters and give them a good service, then put away till later in the year. Put a ball in the pond, this leaves an open area on the surface so gases can escape if the pond gets iced up for long periods. Also, it helps the fish to get vital oxygen. 

You can still plant out, camellias, azaleas, conifers, shrubs, roses, rhododendrons, trees, plants and trees on display outside at garden centres are usually ones you can plant now, but its always best to check with a member of staff.

Prune vines while they are still dormant. Cut off last year’s canes which fruited and tie down the new ones.

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