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Jobs For The Month

February.
FLOWERS
1. Cut down deciduous ornamental grasses left standing over winter, before fresh shoots appear
2. Divide large clumps of snowdrops and winter aconites after flowering and replant to start new colonies
3. Prune late summer-flowering clematis, cutting stems back to healthy buds about 30cm from the base
4. Divide congested clumps of herbaceous perennials and grasses to make vigorous new plants for free
5. Transplant deciduous shrubs growing in the wrong place, while they are dormant
6. Pot up containers with hardy spring bedding, such as primroses, wallflowers and forget-me-nots
7. Prune winter-blooming shrubs, such as mahonia, winter jasmine and heathers, once they've finished flowering
8. Cut back wisteria sideshoots to three buds from the base, to encourage abundant flowers in spring
9. Give winter heathers a light trim after flowering, removing shoot tips but not cutting back into old wood
10. Prune buddleia and elder to the base to keep these vigorous shrubs to a reasonable size
11. Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers if they have outgrown their space, before birds start nesting
12. Cut away all the old foliage from epimediums with shears, before the spring flowers start to develop
13. Sprinkle slow-release fertiliser around the base of roses and other flowering shrubs
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FRUITS & VEGETABLES
1. Finish winter pruning fruit trees and soft fruits, including apples, autumn raspberries and blackcurrants
2. Chit first-early potato tubers, such as 'Foremost', by standing them in trays in a light, frost-free place
3. Prepare veg beds for sowing by weeding thoroughly, then cover with a thick layer of garden compost
4. Feed fruit trees and bushes by sprinkling sulphate of potash fertiliser around the base to encourage fruiting
5. Sow mustard and cress in a small seed tray on a warm windowsill for pickings in just a few weeks
6. Put cloches or fleece over strawberry plants to start them into growth and encourage an early crop
7. Hunt out overwintering snails huddled in empty pots and hidden corners, to reduce populations
8. Plant rhubarb into enriched soil or lift and divide established clumps
9. Check if old seed packets are worth keeping by sowing a few seeds on damp kitchen paper to see if they germinate
10. Protect the blossom of outdoor peaches, nectarines and apricots with fleece if frost is forecast
11. Plant bare-root fruit bushes, trees and canes, as long as the ground isn't frozen
12. Inspect Mediterranean herbs for metallic-green rosemary beetles if they start to look nibbled and tatty
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IN THE GREENHOUSE
1. Sow sweet peas in deep pots and keep them frost free in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill
2. Sow summer bedding and tender annuals, including cosmos, lobelia, dahlias, nasturtiums and snapdragons
3. Pot on and pinch out autumn-sown sweet peas to encourage sideshoots to form
4. Sow tender crops such as tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator or on a warm sunny windowsill
5. Plant dahlia tubers in trays to encourage shoots to develop, which you can then use as cuttings
6. Monitor greenhouse temperatures with a max-min thermometer to ensure heaters are working efficiently
7. Start planting summer bulbs in pots indoors, including liatris, begonias, gloxinias, lilies, eucomis and agapanthus
8. Cut off hippeastrum (amaryllis) flowerheads once they fade, but leave the stalk to die down naturally
9. Hand-pollinate the blossom of peaches and nectarines in the greenhouse using a soft paintbrush
10. Cut back overwintered fuchsias and increase the frequency of watering to spur them into growth
11. Remove any faded or yellowing leaves from overwintering plants to prevent fungal diseases
12. Wash greenhouse glazing inside and out to let in as much light as possible
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AROUND THE GARDEN
1. Install a nest box with a camera, so you can watch birds raising their broods this spring
2. If snow falls, knock it off evergreen shrubs, hedges and conifers to prevent branches snapping under the weight
3. Make or buy a cold frame to use when hardening off young plants this spring
4. Check fleece or other insulation is still in place around pots and borderline-tender plants
5. Firm back down any plants that have been lifted by frost or loosened by wind-rock
6. Make fat-ball feeders and hang them among roses to attract blue tits, which will also forage for overwintering pests
7. Improve the soil by spreading garden compost or well-rotted manure over beds and forking in
8. Sort out and clean up canes, plant supports and cloches, ready for use in spring
9. Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses, before growth restarts
10. Clear away old plant debris from pond margins and scoop out any leaves that have fallen into the water
11. Clean and service mowers and garden power tools, so they're in good order for spring
12. Coppice hazel, cutting to the base, to encourage a flush of new stems that you can use for plant supports in a few years
13. Spread a layer of well-rotted manure around roses and shrubs
14. Remove netting placed over ponds to prevent autumn leaves falling in the water
All above information from http://www.gardenersworld.com/what-to-do-now/
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