Feast your eyes on sheets of snowdrops: There are special open days at gardens not otherwise accessible at this time of year:
Rode Hall, Church Lane, Scholar Green, Cheshire, ST7 3QP,on 4th Feb-5th March.
And also Henbury Hall, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9PJ, is now opening for snowdrop walks on 12th, 19th & 26th February. Please check both websites for opening times.
Immerse your senses in a cloud of witch hazel. Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s own garden at Gresgarth Hall, Caton, Lancaster, LA2 9NB is open to view the hamamelis. Snowdrops and hellebores come as a bonus. 12 Feb (11am-3pm).
Slip and slide: Algae and moss growing can cause paving to become as slippery as any ice rink, especially if you are wearing wellies. This stuff gets the thumbs up from landscapers: ‘Wet and Forget’. You will have to protect plants surrounding the paving, but it seems less damaging than using a power hose.
Rainy days and Mondays? What about a spot of cleaning, tidying and sorting in the green house and/or sheds. A sort of pre-Spring clean.
Keep off the grass as long it is wet or frosty. Don’t be tempted to start mowing, give the grass a chance to outgrow and shade out moss. There will be a few weeds, but does that really matter? Prunella and daisies add to a lawn’s attraction. Leave off mowing for as long as you can quite bear it. You can tell I’m not a lawn purist.
Talking of Spring, towards the end of February, depending on weather, Nature’s flag goes up and the race into growth begins, so there’s a few things to get done before that happens. Prune winter jasmine after flowering to stop it getting all whippy and leggy. Cut back wisteria to two or three buds. Pull out the old dead growth of deciduous grasses. Remove the dead stuff from late summer flowering clematis (not the spring flowering ones) right back to the lowest strong buds. Apply general fertilizer to fruit bushes and trees, try to time this as the plants get into growth, if we get very heavy rain, you may need to give them a top up during the Spring. Put cloches over bare soil to warm up for sowing.
Generally get ready for spring – it is around the corner!