Snowdrops have already made an appearance, OK early, but not ridiculously so. Last year on a cold clear day in February I went with Cheshire Gardens Trust to see the fine snowdrop display at Rode Hall. The native Galanthus nivalis is a lovely thing and is planted in huge numbers in the woodland there. But my heart was lost to the many different forms. G. ‘S. Arnott’ is an elegant one, larger than the native and naturally I was drawn towards G. ‘Jacquenetta’, a double with green markings. G. ‘Milkwood’ is an early flowerer. Warning: apparently snowdrop collecting is severely addictive and can lead to full blown Galanthophilia. Nasty.
Roll up your Sleeves: If weather permits, make a start on preparing the garden for Spring. Cut back or pull away the seed heads and dead leaves of grasses. Pull out any weeds getting there noses above ground and never miss an opportunity to mulch. Watch out for those green spears of bulbs pushing through. Tie in waving branches of roses and other climbers. There’s still time to plant bare root trees and shrubs
Short Back and Sides: Clip evergreens and trim hedges before the birds start nesting. Prune birch before the sap starts to rise. Prune winter jasmine now after flowering to keep it bushy and less straggly. It makes next year’s flowers on new growth.
Wash and Brush up: Spring clean the green house, give the glass a good wash and turn out overwintering beasties. Wipe the leaves of indoor grown citrus with a soft cloth soaked in a mild washing-up liquid solution, then the leaves can make the most of the light, carry on with winter feed until March/April.
Undercover: The soil in the garden won’t be warm enough yet to trigger germination. Go undercover whether it be greenhouse or window cill for sowing broad beans, spinach, lettuce, peas for shoots, salad onions, parsley, coriander, dill. Put out seed potatoes for chitting prior to planting in March.