3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Garden Cuttings: Toby Buckland’s gardening advice for Febraury

PUBLISHED: 11:56 29 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:56 29 January 2015

Toby gets to work this month chopping back vegetation

Toby gets to work this month chopping back vegetation

Archant

Toby Buckland delivers some sound practical and seasonal advice

It’s not too early to trim back tatty tops of woody herbs like lavenderIt’s not too early to trim back tatty tops of woody herbs like lavender

Hello! Here in Devon those sunny days in February when there’s finally some proper warmth in those rays isn’t just a balm for winter-weary souls, it’s the signal for plants to start stirring.

If it’s very mild perennials can be up and out of the blocks early, meaning it’s time to stock up on the wildlife-friendly slug pellets! It’s also time to choose your favourite seeds before garden centres sell out. I always make a beeline for the useful plants, sweet peas for scent and for picking, honesty to dry for autumn arrangements and of course, vegetables like quick cut-and-come-again salad leaves, peas and cherry tomatoes.

And if you do one thing this month make it mulching borders with compost. The dark colour makes a perfect backdrop for bulbs. You never regret it!

Installing a water-butt can help giving you a supply of acidic rainwaterInstalling a water-butt can help giving you a supply of acidic rainwater

What to do now

On crisp winter days, get out into the borders and clear away the last of last year’s perennials to give spring bulbs a chance to shine. In the milder parts of the South West it’s not too early to trim back tatty tops of woody herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender, provided you don’t cut into the leafless wood at the base, trim about an inch above where the leafy growth starts.

Bud drop on rhododendrons, camellia and azaleas at this time of year is a sign of lack of water when buds were forming last summer, commonplace when plants are grown in pots.

Installing a water-butt can help giving you a supply of acidic rainwater that these ericaceous plants love. Collected water is also good for orchids and carnivorous plants. Yellowing leaves is usually a sign of iron deficiency, which you can alleviate by watering with sequestered iron during the growing season. Mulch rhubarb now – a hungry feeder which will repay you with juicy stalks for pies and crumbles. In cold weather, don’t worry if rhubarb appears to have died, they’re extremely hardy but will emerge later when it warms up.

Start sowing broad beans now for a delicious crop later in the yearStart sowing broad beans now for a delicious crop later in the year

Take the secateurs to wisteria and summer-flowering viticella clematis now, wisteria by cutting back the stubs of the summer shoots to two or three buds and clematis to one foot, it keeps the plants producing flowers where you want them - low down - and stops wisteria turning into an unruly mess.

This month at the Plant Centre I’m explaining how to get your garden into gear for spring on 10 and 11 February. I’ll be demonstrating how to sow and plant spuds and onions, as well as what to do now for a garden to make you proud this summer. Tickets cost £7.50, but numbers are limited, so booking is essential on 01626 891133.

Plant of the month

Broad beans

Not quite a harvest yet, but one to get sowing as the earlier you do the earlier they produce pods and the less likelihood they’ll fall prey to the dreaded black bean aphid, a nasty fat sap-sucking creature before you get to eat them.

Varieties come and go but my all-time favourites are still ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ and ‘Sutton’ for their reliability in the cold and their tangy flavour. Sown in 9cm pots and kept in a cold frame they’ll be big enough to plant next month and ready for picking by early summer – but just watch out for mice that love the seeds! I like to eat them whole before the beans inside show through the walls of the pods, served with ketchup and bacon. Delicious!

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dust off your walking shoes and head to South Devon – here are 6 reasons why the area is so good for a stroll writes Victoria Rogers

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There is something quite life-enriching about being by the water and in Devon there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, writes Fran McElhone. Including surfing, wild swimming, water skiing and more, here are 10 great ways to enjoy Devon’s water

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Devon is as beautiful underwater as it is above. Chrissy Harris highlights the best places to discover our county’s hidden depths… Here are 6 great places for crabbing, rockpooling and diving

Read more
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Simone Stanbrook-Byrne suggests a selection of 5 walks with stunning views to enjoy over the summer. Grab your boots and the relevant OS map and off you go!

Read more
Friday, August 3, 2018

From a hot tub Land Rover to a Romany caravan, Claire Saul picks out 7 Devon holiday lets that make hot topics for conversation

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Whether you’re up on Dartmoor, gazing down on the seaside from the South West Coast Path or visiting one of our stunning stately homes, breathtaking views are all around our county. We’ve picked 23 places where you can get Devon’s best views

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Escape the crowds and seek solace in one of the many nature reserves Devon has to offer. Think peaceful picnic spots, stunning views and spectacular wildlife – here are 7 reserves that are too good to miss as recommended by Sophie Pavelle

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search