February 2002

dwarf daffs Last month I was moaning that the newly planted dwarf daffs, tete-a-tete and February Gold were way behind. However with the temperature this month way above average, despite one or two sharp frosts, they shot ahead and are now all in flower. The majority of tall ones are still in bud.

The predominant feature of this month's weather has been wind and rain. Most people have had fences down. I was no exception and have had to prop up the fence dividing my front garden from the back with rotting planks. I am trying to layer a branch from a sturdy but very thorny pyracanthus to grow in front to prop it up

In the back garden I created some "gardener's paths using a neighbours's cedar shreddings. In the flower beds next year I need to plant a few more bulbs in between where the dahlias will go later to avoid the "standing in rows" look.

I have made a start on renovating the front garden by placing five Spanish broom along the back. I have also planted a corkscrew hazel in a shady bed to the side. I have still to dig a hole for the witch hazel near the front door where I hope it will scent the winter in future years.

coloured primrosesThe part of the back garden immediately behind the house is in shade all winter. So I find it surprising that these coloured primroses I bought last summer at ten for a pound have flowered through sporadically throughout the winter. They are really getting going this month. I can't say I like their colours but have to admire their toughness.

snowdrops and crocuses The snowdrops have been magnificent this month , great swathes of them along the side borders. However I particularly admire them where they flower alongside the crocuses. The weather has been too wild for the more delicate species crocuses and the birds nip the yellow ones. However several clumps of the tougher garden purple crocuses are in bloom and look at their most effective when teamed with snowdrops.

The conservatory is awash with seedlings waiting to be pricked out or potted on. I have already planted out the early peas I sowed indoors ( Forward). The broadbbeans planted straight into the ground have all come through. As usual I have had many lost labels and I cannot sort my brussels from my cauliflowers and calabrese. I will make further sowings straight into the ground.