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Gardener's Diary            February

Rosemary MartinGardener's Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 

An introduction from Rosemary...     


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..




Forty sixth edition - February 2005

It’s a joy to see the garden waking up after winter, early bulbs poking their heads above the ground and the landscape looking fresher somehow than in the pre-Christmas months. The spring bulbs, flowering shrubs and cherry blossom are surely the best part of the gardening year. Spring is also the busiest time in the garden, so try to get a head start before the weeds start growing in the lengthening days. This is a great time to start sowing seeds, indoors and outside.

It is a good idea to make a plan of bedding plants and other annuals you want to grow this year and stick to it, rather than getting carried away in the garden centre and being seduced by all the beautiful displays...


Jobs for February



Amazon book - perfect lawns


Do you have a lot of moss in your lawn? Then get raking, or better still use an electric scarifier to do the job. You will be surprised how much moss comes out and it can all go on the compost heap.. Then you can use a weed and feed to kill off the remainder of the moss.



Early sowings of many vegetables can be made in the greenhouse, or under frames or cloches. These include Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce and Leeks. If the weather is kind, sow Broad Beans in the open. I quite like the habit of growing vegetables and salad stuff in the flower borders. It doesn`t detract from the beauty of the borders and has the added benefit of giving my non-gardening husband something to enthuse over!

Paths and walkways

Continue to clear algae and moss off paths and walkways to avoid accidents.. This can be done either with chemicals bought from your DIY shop, a wire brush, or a power hose, which is good fun! I tend to use a wire brush for awkward spots and a power washer for the larger areas..

Amazon Book - Bulbs (Garden Guides)  Bulbs

Move overcrowded snowdrops by digging up and splitting clumps into smaller sections, then replanting them. Plant corms of spring flowering bulbs outdoors for extra interest and keep indoor hyacinths and narcissi moist. If you had Christmas hyacinths that are now well and truly finished, allow them to dry out and die down, then plant them in a clump in the garden for flowering in future years.



Prune early summer and later flowering Clematis hybrids. Prune Wisterias and ornamental grape vines. Tidy up shrubs or trees that have suffered damage in the windy weather.



Amazon book - Wildlife Friendly Plants: Make Your Garden a Haven for Beneficial Insects, Amphibians and Birds Like January, this is a crucial month for the wildlife that you feed.. Whether you feed birds, badgers, squirrels or hedgehogs, don`t stop because it is too cold to go outside. They will die because they have come to depend on you for their survival.. If you have fish in your pond and the water freezes due to low temperatures, ensure that a hole is left in the ice for the fish to get enough oxygen to survive.. This is especially important with a shallow pond.. Never break the ice with a tool such as a hammer because the noise will shock the fish and kill them. Float a football on the water and that will bob about and provide a space that will not freeze over. 


Paths, walls and fencing

It has been a very windy time of year when a check of your boundary walls or fences might reveal some damage.. A lick of paint on the fence on a sunny day is very therapeutic and does wonders for freshening up the faded panels.


Happy gardening.    



Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. A current email address is necessary as my replies to you are sometimes returned to me as undeliverable..


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


You may obtain their free New 2005 Seed Catalogue by telephoning 01473 695224 and their website address is where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line. 

And some places to visit...

RHS Flower Shows 2005

RHS Spring Flower Show, Cardiff

: :  

22 - 24 April 2005

The Spring Gardening Show Malvern

: :  

13 - 15 May 2005

Chelsea Flower Show

: :  

24 - 28 May 2005

BBC Gardeners' World Live

: :  

15 - 19 June 2005

Charity Gala Preview of the
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :

4 July 2005

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :  

5 - 10 July 2005

RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

: :  

20 - 24 July 2005

Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

24 - 25 September 2005

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  


Wisley Shows

: :  

April, June and August
  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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



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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