February’s gardening tips.

Welcome to the first in this series. I have been asked to offer some tips for you gardeners (or indeed ‘would-be’ gardeners). Well, there are loads you can be doing this month.

Plants will be starting to show signs of recovery from the Winter months, (well we hope so anyway.) You may be tempted to pick up the secateurs and start pruning back everything in sight. Just a word of caution with that! Make sure it’s a nice dry and frost free morning and by all means start on some of the roses, climbing plants and shrubs. You can tidy up and remove the remaining dead leaves and stems on the herbaceous plants. If it is frosty however it is better to hold back until March. The effect of hard frost on a freshly cut stem will be far worse than leaving the stems to protect the main plant.

If the weather is kind then start pruning your roses. For hybrid teas and floribundas aim to reduce the stems by around two thirds by removing dead and crossing stems. The experts will say ‘prune to an outward facing eye,’ which is good practice, but some types are more prostrate in habit and not suitable. For climbers do much the same as bush, but if it’s a rambler or shrub rose it is best left until after flowering and then cut back half of the stems really hard.

For clematis and most other climbers it’s also a good time to shape them up. Large flowered types need pruning to 18 inches after the first year of planting, then to around 3 feet second year, and after that just trimming back after flowering. Montana types cut back and tidy up after flowering.

Fuchsias : For your hardy type be ruthless and cut them down to the ground. Sounds harsh but they will reward you for the effort with much stronger growth.

If you need more information and advice why not come along to Bideford Gardeners’ Club. Our next meeting is on 13th February at Bideford Methodist Church Hall at 7.30pm. entrance off Honestone Street car park with Peter Christie as this month’s speaker, or check out our website www.bidefordgardenersclub.co.uk for our programme.

Good Growing! ( Mike Avis, secretary of Bideford Gardeners’ Club )

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