Good things about February

Posted: Tuesday 12 February 2013
by James Alexander-Sinclair

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but 28 days of cold wet yukkiness is hardly conducive to horticultural excitement.

Iris reticulata

February is a blessedly short month. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but 28 days of cold wet yukkiness is hardly conducive to horticultural excitement. However, we have to get through it in order to edge our way closer to spring, so here is my list of things that are good about February (don’t get too comfortable, it is not a long list):

1.Valentine’s Day. Love will be all around us. We will feel it in our fingers and we will feel it in our toes. There may also be chocolate available.

2. Snowdrops: The first sign of life. Best not planted as bulbs, though. They should be planted in about March ‘in the green’. This means that they are dug up after flowering and planted then.

3. Iris reticulata: really, really special. A gorgeous splash of colour in February. The best ones are blue and share their names with Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends.  (Edward, George.)

4. Six Nations Rugby. Leaves me completely cold but some people enjoy the sight of 30 large men tussling in cold mud.

5. Sarcococca hookeriana: I drove to Devon last week with nine of these in the back of my car. The scent was amazing and, even though the plants are now happily planted in a client’s garden, the smell is still there. Plant them close to pathways

6. Chitting. As in potatoes, not Cabaret (“What use is chitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play....). Leave them on a windowsill and let them sprout.

7. Tulip saxatalis: The earliest tulip. Very different to the rather gorgeous spring numbers I was talking about a couple of weeks ago here. This one is only about six inches high but smells pleasantly peppery. Opens wide in the sunshine (when there is any).

8. This month is London Fashion Week. Giggle at the impracticality of many of the garments.

9. Anemone blanda: The wood anemone. You don’t have to have a wood to grow this little plant. Underneath deciduous shrubs or in a shady corner will do fine. Also comes in white and a sort of washy pink. But I would stick with the first two.

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Talkback: Good things about February
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happymarion 12/02/2013 at 21:45

Oh, and Iris unguilaris is at its height though it can flower for ten months of the year. Pancake day has just been and I made 32 of them. The snowdrops are beautiful. The nights are stretching out. People are making plans for holidays and garden visits. Chaenomeles is covered in flowers. The birds are returning and some have found mates already. I have peach blossom on my peach tree. The blossom is just arriving on the wild cherry trees in my spinney. And oh, the hellebores!!! There, James, another ten.

Verdun 12/02/2013 at 22:02

I agree happymarion. Feb right now is glorious

happymarion 13/02/2013 at 12:02

Oh, I forgot about the St, Valentine flower - the crocus. Mine have joined the snowdrops.

happymarion 13/02/2013 at 12:47

And there are loads of bergenia flowers in full bloom. Hardly seems like winter when you have one of those in a pretty vase on your breakfast table.

flowering rose 13/02/2013 at 13:37

I think the nice thing about Feb (discounting the snow and rain)is the sudden bursting into life of plants.Pancake day i missed as to busy gooseberry bushes but just the increase of day and getting into the garden.

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