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Gardener's Diary 

                            February 2008


February 2008 

This is a wonderful time of year. The days have already started to lengthen and there are plenty of signs of Spring if you look hard enough. We have the whole year to look forward to. 

We have decided that we're going to have a vegetable plot at home; we're fed up with buying produce that looks wonderful but tastes of nothing much at all..

We've removed the old greenhouse and ordered a new, much bigger one. We have the digger in at the moment, removing lawn, laying paths and setting out raised vegetable beds and fruit borders..

Hopefully then, there will soon be added interest to this column:- 'In the Allotment'...


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

 Jobs for the month - February

Herbaceous borders

It's always a bonus to be able to get out in the garden at this time of year, and dig over the borders.. Remove all those weeds that have sprung up in the milder weather, but take care not to disturb any bulbs that may be emerging.. Take cutting from delphiniums when the new shoots have grown about two inches. Lift and divide any clumps of perennials that are more than two years old.


Examine houseplants for pests such as Mealybug and whitefly, both of which have thrived over winter in the mild conditions. Treat with appropriate sprays which may need repeating over the course of a few weeks. Choose which of your houseplants will need re-potting this year and plan to do this during February or March, depending on the weather, just before growth commences.. Plan to take cuttings at the same time.


If a temperature of about 50f (10c) can be maintained you could start sowing some summer bedding plants.. Tomato seeds can be sown now too.
In cooler conditions there are plenty of vegetables that can be sown this month in the greenhouse; brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbages, leeks, onions and organic lettuce leaves.. Last year I dotted lettuce all around the garden and it was picked most days. Very nice it was too..


Lawns in the UK may be quite waterlogged with all the recent rain. Try to keep off them as much as possible until the grass dries out. When conditions are suitable, scarify the lawn to get rid of debris and moss, then apply a Weed and Feed treatment.


From December until February wild life in the garden has been dominated by resident birds such as thrushes and robins, but there will be many more varieties of birds returning as the weather warms up. Animals that hibernate for the winter will start to awaken, especially the hedgehog, a real gardener's friend.. Enjoy the wildlife in your garden and look after them by ensuring there is always water to drink, and if you do feed the birds, keep their food supply topped up.

Happy gardening till next month....



Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:




The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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