February saw a few new structures built in the garden: namely a storage unit behind the shed and strawberry planters on the roof of one of the woodstores. Otherwise, the changes have been fairly subtle: the young borders are a little tidier: some weeds removed, winter stems cut down to the ground on sedums and eryngium which are already showing strong new growth from the base.
While our young borders are still sparse at this time of year, snowdrops have danced along the edge of this border through the month, and more were added in the green along the inner edge of the young beech hedge out the front, where our first daffodils have bloomed cheerfully for a week or two. There are still a handful of snowdrops flowering around the garden and the display from the primroses is unwavering, but the next few weeks will belong to the daffodils and hopefully a few crocus: around the back garden shoots and buds of later varieties are breaking through already.
In the kitchen garden, we cleared the last of the crops and laid down plastic to warm the beds. The second row of garlic, the softneck variety ‘Solent Wight’ planted late in the year, has broken through the ground alongside the autumn-planted row of hardneck ‘Sprint’. Errant summer raspberry canes popping up between rows were dug out and planted back in line, and the whole patch weeded, while the rows of strawberries in front still require some attention.
We removed plants, tools and cabbage frames temporarily from the greenhouse to scrub the glass thoroughly with disinfectant, sealed up any large gaps between panes that we could find, and burnt a sulphur candle overnight. This should hopefully rid us of the red spider mite infestation that decimated our cucumbers last year. It was rather eerie to watch the greenhouse fill with smoke as dusk fell.
For a few days, the house was filled with trays of newly sown seeds and seedlings rescued from the greenhouse until the smoke cleared. The cats have been romping in and between the enviromesh frames, which must now be put away again to prevent damage until we need their protection for our crops. Now the greenhouse is ready for action – and already home to a few early sowings, along with overwintering verbascum seedlings, pelargoniums and agapanthus.
Just a little more tidying up inside, some caterpillars of moss to prise from the north side of the roof, and the earth to be dug over and enriched, and the greenhouse will be ready for the growing season ahead.
Thanks to the Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly review of the garden.