“On the wind in February
Snowflakes float still,
Half inclined to turn to rain,
Nipping, dripping, chill.”
~Christina Georgina Rossetti, “A Year’s Windfalls,” 1866

Eranthis hyemalis – Winter aconite

February, what a wonderful month it is. Of course, there will be a few of you that will disagree with this but it is such an interesting and exciting time of year in the garden. The garden never really sleeps but winter is usually the quieter season in the gardening calendar. Although, not really for us gardeners and winter is where the nitty gritty, the nuts and bolts side of gardening happens. Although whilst I was at Trinity, there were a few there that thought us gardeners had nothing to do in winter, which prompted me to write the post ”Do gardeners hibernate?”

Even though the garden might be at it’s quietest, there are always a few points of interest in the garden to keep you going until it bounces back into full bloom and February is the month that starts to show this promise. It might be one of the coldest months and the thought of warmer days, still seems a long way off but the days are getting longer and spring is getting closer and before you know it…… you’ll be complaining ‘it’s too bloody hot’.

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Galanthus nivalis – Snowdrops

Winter aconite’s and the snowdrops steal the show for many but there is so many other points of interest in the February garden.

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The winter sun is a good one for a starter. Your feet and your hands may be cold but the winter sun always warms the heart and the light it omits on everything it touches; is always a wonderful sight to see.

Winter sun

Crocuses are a wonderful sight to see at this time of year and the one that is very familiar to me is Crocus tommasinianus.

Crocus tommasinianus

When I was the Head Gardener of Trinity college, these little beauties always gave us an amazing show. Crocus tommasinianus is a great one for naturalising and the main pest for these at Trinity were people, especially those with cameras!

Cornus mas

The Cornelian cherry or Dogwood is a true cracker for any medium to large garden. For me these look great all year round. They have wonderful oval leaves turning purple in the autumn, beautiful clusters of yellow flowers in February/March and red berries in the latter part of summer.

Rubus cockburnianus

Prickly bugger this one and there was some blood letting when I took this photo. Great with their white stems and these work well with the colourful stems of the dogwoods.

Cornus sanguinea

Cornus alba

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter fire’

Dogwoods are a must have for any garden. They will give you the perfect coloured stems that really come into their own when the winter sun catches them. Easy to grow and will virtually grow anywhere, although some do not like it too wet.

Primula vulgaris

Another firm favourite. A hardy perennial that will keep on going year after year and will spread itself all over the show.

Clematis tangutica

Wrong time of year for this Clematis but they are still giving some interest in the garden until you give them their annual prune, unless you have already done it.

Lonicera fragrantissima

For a winter perfume and a delicate flower, this medium sized shrub has both. Lonicera standishii is very similar in appearance and is another great addition to the garden.

Sarcococca confusa

Sarcococcas look good all year round but they are another that gives us some wonderful winter perfume, which is always welcome on a cold February day.

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”
–  Gertrude S. Wister

This is only a small percentage of the wonderful sights and smells you can see throughout the winter in particular, the month of February. Winter is not a dead season for the garden, it’s just a little quieter than the other season’s. Resetting itself ready for the year ahead. Although while it is having a little time out, nature keeps us interested and warms our hearts and minds until the warmer months.

At the beginning of this February (and adding in a little plug) there was a nice surprise when I was included in the Thompson & Morgan blog post ’10 Gardener’s show how it’s done’…..cheers for that!

And here is the link…….

https://blog.thompson-morgan.com/10-pro-gardeners-show-how-done/ 

 

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