In case you missed it, last week I posted my latest Compost Trial Report. The top-performing composts in this trial were Heart of Eden All Purpose Natural Compost, Harmony Gardens Multipurpose Compost, and Bathgate Horticulture Peat-free Multi-Purpose Compost; these are all peat-free growing medias. I’d urge everyone to use peat-free compost. Peatlands are unique wetland nature reserves and habitats for rare plants and wildlife. Peatlands store vast amounts of carbon to protect us from climate change, yet they are still being dug up to make compost and peatlands urgently need our protection. When buying plants, check they were raised in peat-free growing media (check out Nic Wilson’s Peat-Free Nurseries List).
If you’re interested in finding out more information about ‘Desdemona’ – the beautiful rose pictured above, please click here.
Our soils can be overlooked by gardeners, who often favour growing plants in containers. Yet traditional-style container gardening is more time consuming and requires larger quantities of water compared to growing plants in the soil. If we give plants their preferred soil type and growing conditions, soil-grown plants are usually healthier specimens that are more productive and happier than container-grown plants.
If you have a patio garden or enjoy container gardening, you might be interested to read about my Self-Watering Container Trial.
This is the perfect time to start a compost heap! Homemade garden compost makes a fantastic mulch. Mulching is such an important part of gardening. An organic mulch of homemade compost, bark, woodchip, or well-rotted manure will allow water to penetrate the soil, aid water retention, enrich your soil, and suppress weeds. For optimum results, weed the area first and apply your mulch after rained. Don’t apply a mulch when the ground is frozen; delay mulching until a warmer day.
If you’ve got a lawn in your garden, this is the ideal moment to smarten up the edges and define the shape of your lawn with a lawn edger. It’s easier to do this task now, as spring droughts make using a lawn edger more challenging. Why not leave an area of your lawn uncut for wildlife? Mown paths through long grass look attractive and allow us to share the area with nature.
Wisterias often appear abundant and floriferous, but Wisteria will only bloom if pruned correctly, at the right time of year. Pruning might appear daunting, but I promise you it is very simple. Take a sharp pair of strong secateurs (long-handled secateurs are useful for pruning tall specimens) and look for the side shoots growing out from the main framework of the plant. Start at one side of your Wisteria and prune every side shoot, cutting back to leave two or three buds remaining on the stem.
My hands aren’t as strong as I would like and over the years I’ve tried so many pairs of secateurs. The best pair I’ve found so far are from Felco. Click here to read my review of my Felco Secateurs.
Bare root planting season is coming to an end; look out for reduced-priced bare root plants at specialist nurseries, garden centres, and online. Bare root plants are more economical and environmentally friendly, and often boast more extensive root systems.
Plant bare root plants as soon as possible after purchase (providing the soil isn’t frozen or water-logged). Soak your plants’ roots in a bucket of water for 24 hours before planting, and apply a mulch of homemade compost, bark, woodchip, or well-rotted manure after planting.
For more gardening advice for February, please click here.
For a list of snowdrop nurseries and suppliers, please click here.
To see the articles I’ve written about my Outdoor Gardening Trials, please click here.
For articles about houseplants, please click here.
To see my Calendar of Snowdrop Garden openings, please click here.
For articles about growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs, please click here.
For more than 20 tips on how to succeed at composting, please click here.
To see my plant pages with pictures and advice to help you grow a wide range of plants including houseplants, ferns, climbers, perennials, trees, shrubs, fruit, herbs, and vegetables, please click here.
To see my Calendar of Specialist Plant Fairs, Plant Sales, Plant and Seed Swaps, please click here.