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February In your Garden

Just when you thought it was safe to put your feet up and read a nice book Mother Nature throws us a curve ball.
Yes it's February and I'm already behind in my weeding. Last year I couldn't even see the soil by this time. Well folks, here's your to-do list for February.

Tasks

  • Weed. Enough said
  • Clean up the garden of leaves and debris (unless the debris / leaves are protecting a borderline hardy plant). This will reduce the amount of slugs and snails that may be over wintering. While you are examining your garden be careful not to step on green shoots from bulbs!
  • Rake your lawn & get rid of dead growth, leaves, twigs and any other winter debris. This will let the light and air get to the soil level encouraging your grass to grow.
  • If your lawn is not waterlogged you can aerate, top-dress and lime. Yes, in that order too. It is important to this when the lawn is not wet or frosty or you'll be compacting and damaging your lawn.
  • Get your lawn mower checked and blades sharpened. Sharp blades cut grass better and contributes to a healthier lawn.
  • Spray fruit trees using a dormant spray kit. This can also be applied to magnolias, crabapples, flowering cherries and almost any flowering deciduous tree. This will help prevent pests & disease this coming season.
  • Clean out bird nesting boxes.
  • Move and divide any perennials as long as the weather is mild. Replant immediately and water well.
  • Transplant any existing shrubs you wish to move before they begin to leaf out.
  • Start thinking about our native pollinators!! They'll need some early food!! Heather, early spring bulbs, Witch Hazel, Viburnum bodnatense all excellent to have mixed in the garden and great food for the early emergence of our local bee population. Did you know there are more than 80 different types of local bees??!!!
  • Consider buying a mason bee house. Get get your mason bees so you don't miss out. Sometimes supply can be limited. Replacement straws are available now.
  • Water houseplants sparingly. Continue to repot your house plants if they need it.
  • Bulbs & Seeds

  • Still haven't gotten around to planting those bulbs? Don't panic, you can still plant them. They'll just come up very late. Don't wait any longer though! Make sure they are still firm and if they have started to shoot green, still plant at regular planting depth, it is okay to cover the green shoot, it will continue to grow and come up. Bulbs are amazing!
  • Check your stored tubers, remove any that have mold or rot. Add more sawdust or peat moss if too moist. Cinnamon is a great fungicide.
  • Those of you lucky enough to have a cold frame, you can begin to seed carrots, and start your shallots, glads and by the end of the month your Begonias as the varieties are starting to come in to the nursery.
  • Dig out your seed starting supplies. Check your needs on trays, soil & seeds. Have some fun and grow something different, there are so many great new veggies available.
  • When starting seeds, wash previously used containers in a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water.
  • You can actually sow sweet peas now!!! Interesting tip from a lovely lady from the Capilano Garden Club…those of you that still have that Christmas tree behind the shed - you know who you are, it will come in handy in the garden. Yes you actually meant to save the tree!!! Shake off the remaining needles, trim off the ends a bit, turn upside down in the veggie garden and Voila, a sweet pea or bean trellis!!!!
  • What to Trim / Prune:

  • Prune shrubs, thin trees. Use International society of arboriculture guidelines. They have a good website too and the library is an excellent resource. You can also come in and visit and we can give you some good pruning tips.
  • Trim off dead stems of ornamental grasses. (Optional, you can wait a bit, if they have held their form.)
  • Prune deciduous trees & shrubs. Try to complete this task while plants are still dormant. Some shrubs really benefit from a hard pruning such as shrub dogwoods, willows, callicarpa - beauty berry, cotinus (smoke bush), and buddleia.
  • Prune wisteria by shortening all sideshoots to about 1inch from the main stems. This will encourage flower spurs to form along the main stem and thus structure of the vine. Tie any other leading shoots in to extend the coverage of the wisteria.
  • Evaluate fruit trees for pruning. Prune for size, remove crossing and congested branches, creating an open canopy so you can benefit from good air circulation.
  • To maintain a nice shape with your winter heather, prune after they bloom.
  • Awaken Your Senses

  • See the beautiful sprig bulbs, hellebores, primulas, and the fresh new growth daring to emerge.
  • Smell the sweet scent of blooming witch-hazels, and sweetbox.
  • Listen to the birds and the wind throughout the garden.
  • Feel the sun on your face, the weather is fantastic!
  • Plan or design your edible container garden, design a vegetable garden, or plan to incorporate small fruits and fruit trees into your garden.
  • Bring in plum, forsythia and magnolia prunings and place in vases. They should start to bloom for you in about a week.
  • And...
    Spend time this Valentines enjoying the flowers in your own garden or with a stroll in our wonderful parks or botanical gardens! Many are just starting to burst with colour, it is a great way to see what plants will add colour to your garden at this time of year.

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