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Saturday 24 February 2024

A Year in the Garden: February


Dear friends. This is the first in a series of monthly posts where I share what's going on in the garden, my latest tasks, learnings and plans.  I'll be sharing this with #6onSaturday at Garden Ruminations, to give you even more gardening goodness.

Background on how we transformed our small garden in 2012.  

February in London, UK, is still very much winter. And yet. There are many signs of spring. The monster clematis montanas -3 of them - have tiny buds.  The forsythia hedge has even bigger buds. Bulbs are making strong progress. 

I've been out gardening twice this month when we had blue sky days. I felt like doing a little jig to celebrate the start of the gardening year. I moved a couple of perennials and swept up leaves. 

The Garden Lately 

I adore tulips but we have so many squirrels I don't plant many in the back garden.  I have two big containers of tulips outside the front door. 

Unfortunately the foxes have got their paws on one of them. 

I bought a few ready grown tulips last week to fill gaps in the front border.

 It's evolved over the years with a succession of different daffodils, starting with Tête-à-tête in February. I take pictures to remind me where there are gaps. Inevitably when weeding, a few bulbs get dug up. And as the border runs alongside a lane, I get a lot of wild grasses popping up. They get tangled among the muscari. 

I was going to get the hawthorn tree pruned this month but the birds are already starting to build nests. There is a very active robin who follows me around when I'm in the garden, and a pair of blackbirds in the hawthorn tree.

Plans for 2024: Sunny Front Garden 

I love dahlias but haven't had any for a few years. I've ordered 5 tubers from Sarah Raven to grow in containers at the front of the house (south facing). My only challenge is finding the right containers. I have quite a few, but half are in service with bulbs at present, and of the rest, most are not big enough. 

My star attraction in the sunny front garden is my rose bed. It's old fashioned to have several roses in one bed, but I love it.  I look forward to showing you the pics of the roses in May. In February,  there's colour in the rose bed with hyacinths.  

Below: narcissus in the front border

The North Facing Challenge

In my back garden I've got two borders, one a raised bed, and lots of containers. It's north facing but I've learnt what works. There are three spectacular clematis on the fence but there's a big price to pay for their explosion of colour in May. Nothing grows under the mass of overhang, and I've tried many plants which are supposed to like dry conditions. The lack of sun is the problem. 

I still get the cottage garden I crave.  My reliable performers are phlox, scabiosa, penstemon, dianthus, fuchsias and snapdragons in shades of pink, white and purple. I always have some home sown nigella (love in a mist) at the start of spring. 

There's an extremely vigorous rose, Olivia Rose Austin, but no other roses have fared well. I always plant up several containers with perlagoniums, fuchsias, heliotrope, bacopa. I have a smaller side border in the back garden which is very shady, and here I have a few heuchera.

Last year in the back garden I tried Scabiosa Caucasica in Perfecta Blue and they were amazing. I've re-sited two of them to the front of the back border to get more sun.  They're more showy, and taller,  than the normal scabiosa. They flowered until November. I plan to get a few more. 

I love alliums too but again, these are not always successful. Last year I planted quite a few - Everest and Purple Sensation - and they'd grown well but then something chopped them off mid-stem. 

I have more luck with the drumsticks, Allium sphaerocephalon, so have planted them in a big clump in the back border, after seeing a garden in the Cotswolds which had done this. I love seeing them weaving through other plants.

Here's a look at the back garden, taken yesterday.  There's another slim border on the right hand side, which you can't see.,

There'll be another update in March. 

Sharing my post with these fantastic sites.  


1 comment

  1. Sally - challenge fifty-two24 February 2024 at 12:36

    Looks like there is a nice bit of colour for spring, and love the sound of your roses!


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