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Welcome to my first list of garden jobs in February. It barely seems a week since I was last posting a list and it is hard to believe that January has already disappeared.  The days are feeling longer and the birds are starting to sing again (at least when the rain stops!).

Before I start I must show you my Lily of the Valley pips that I brought inside from my cold frame. Regular readers will remember that back in January I wrote about a tip I read at Of Spring And Summer (a regular blogging read of mine) about forcing Lily of the Valley inside. I immediately brought 3 very unpromising pots of Lily of the Valley inside and have left them on my kitchen window sill. A small shoot appeared within days, but the pips have not grown since then. That is until earlier this week when they started shooting up. This one actually has a flower bud – I am amazed! I need to make sure I buy some more pips so that I can repeat this again next winter.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley are one of my favourite spring flowers and I am sad that I am struggling to get it to naturalise in this garden. Every spring I plant a few generous clumps from pips that I buy ‘in the green’ in the hope that they will be happy. I am keeping my fingers crossed that last years spring plantings will be more successful than previous years, but I will have to wait a bit longer before I will know.

Iris reticulata Halkis

I am very happy that spring has arrived in the greenhouse this week. The heady scent of narcissi Paperwhite greets me as I open the door and the lovely narcissi flowers have been joined by pots of Iris reticulata. I asked for help in identifying the variety earlier this week and am happy to say that Chloris, author of The Blooming Garden, has recognised it as being Halkis. In previous years I have grown Iris reticulata Harmony and I was confused by its more delicate appearance. Also shooting up are tulip Calgary, a white tulip for forcing that I bought from Sarah Raven, hyacinths and yet more Paperwhites.

Paperwhites

Outside the hellebores and snowdrops are getting into their stride and I am hoping to have photos for you next week. Other bulbs are shooting up and I even have a patch of muscari complementing the hellebore below.

Hellebore & Muscari

Despite the spring-like look of these photos winter still has its hold on the garden. Any plans for major work outside have had to be put on hold as the whole garden is waterlogged after hours of rain each day. I have done very little work outside since last week and I do not expect this to change for the next few days at least.

So concentrating on indoor jobs for now my plans for the coming week are to:

  • Continue sowing seeds of hardy annuals for the Cutting Garden. This week I sowed another batch of sweet peas, but I need to get on with the rest of my list.
  • Sow salad leaves and hearting lettuces in plugs in the greenhouse. Last week I sowed broad bean Aquadulce Claudia, pea Douce Provence, leek Prizetaker and spinach Triathlon ( all suitable for early sowing).
  • Plan my order of bare root roses from David Austin before they have all sold out.
  • Set out my seed potatoes to chit – I place them in egg boxes on the laundry room worktop. I have tried chitting in the greenhouse, but lost a lot to frost so keep them indoors now. Hopefully the ground will be dry enough to plant them out in late March.
  • If the ground dries out continue to prune my climbing roses.

Helleborus Niger

Last week I mentioned my February project of preparing ground in the woodland walk for planting more winter flowering shrubs, hellebores and bulbs. I have discovered this week when working in that area that the weed problem is far worse than I was expecting. The ground is full of couch grass as well as nettles with huge root systems and docks with foot long tap roots. I am trying not to be too discouraged, but I may have to concentrate on keeping this area clear of weeds throughout the summer and delay planting out my pots of shrubs until next autumn.

I will be back on Sunday with ‘Flowers On Sunday’, which may well have a valentine theme this week! I am keeping my fingers crossed for some suitable blooms at the market tomorrow and on Monday I will be here with something from my garden for ‘In A Vase On Monday’. I look forward to having an excuse for some flower arranging and photography on Sunday and Monday all week!

I  hope you have a lovely weekend.