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What to do in your garden - February 2019

This is the time of year when we start gearing up for spring, and you can get ahead of the game by stocking up on all your gardening needs from Longacres, where we everything you need to spruce up your garden for spring – both in store and online!

  • Early spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, ribes (flowering currant) and sarcococca (sweet box) and winter flowering jasmine with cheery bright yellow flowers to brighten up dull days. Sweet-smelling Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’. This deliciously fragrant evergreen shrub is in full flower during the coldest time of the year January and February. The flowers are purplish-pink and white and you can’t miss it when you walk past it and get a waft of its wonderful scent.
  • We have plenty of evergreen foliage plants to give your garden winter interest such as: viburnum, nandina, heuchera, euonymus, skimmia plus other classic favourites like camellia rhododendrons and azaleas for their stunning flowers.
  • Baby bedding starter plants are coming soon – brilliant value for getting ahead with growing on tender summer plants – you’ll need a heated greenhouse, heated conservatory or warm, sunny windowsill to give them the best conditions.
  • Seed potatoes are now in stock: packs of 10 tubers plus 2kg bags while stocks last, plus ready-to-plant packs of garlic, onions, shallots and asparagus.
  • Perennial plants are back in stock – starting with 9cm Barbara Austin perennials which are excellent value at £1.99 each. Plant in your borders and beds in groups of three or five for maximum impact. From foxgloves, delphiniums and lupins, to garden pinks and perennial wallflowers, there’s so much to choose from and stock changes constantly so come and have a look. We also have larger pots of perennial plants for instant gardening – more varieties are coming in weekly.
  • Alpines have arrived! Early flowering favourites such as aubrieta, arabis and saxifrage all very useful plants for sunny walls and borders. We have new stock and more plant varieties are coming in every week.
  • We’re expecting a large delivery of superb specimen plants in store early in February, including bamboo, conifers and other choice plants. You’ll need to come in and have a look!
  • Climbing plants are back in stock – from clematis to wisteria, ivy to honeysuckle – plan what to plant to give height on fences, walls and pergolas to give colour and interest.
  • Potted bulbs – did you forget to plant spring-flowering bulbs last autumn? Don’t panic – we have many different varieties from snowdrops to tulips. They’re great for adding colour to containers or borders How about instant impact for the patio or front door – larger containers full of bulbs such as hyacinths, daffodils or tulips.
  • Other interesting early spring-flowering plants include: heathers, hellebores and viburnum.
  • Spring bedding plants such as pansies and viola, arabis and Bellis perennis daisy are great fillers for colour in containers and hanging baskets – or why not buy ready planted for an instant makeover in your garden?

  • Get your garden ready for the start of the gardening season by carrying out the following maintenance tasks:

  • Ornamental grasses: late February or early March, (before the plant comes into new growth) is the time to cut back some deciduous grasses to tidy them up, such as miscanthus and calamagrostis. Be careful not to damage any new growth you may see coming through. Evergreen grasses like carex and festuca just need to have dead fronds removed at the base. Wearing rubber gardening gloves, “comb” through the grass to pull out old, dead stems. If a clump of ornamental grass is getting too big you can divide it now
  • Prepare and paint fences and decking, plus garden furniture: a job for a dry and preferably sunny day. Dry off garden furniture and rub down then apply a suitable treatment. Find our range online & in store now!
  • Lily bulbs are now in stock! There’s no finer fragrance on a warm summers’ evening, than lilies growing in your garden. If your soil is too wet and heavy, why not grow in containers and plunge into the border - better still in pots on the patio so you can enjoy them close-up. Here’s our guide on getting the best from planting lily bulbs in pots: Many lily varieties are suitable such as the ever popular and richly fragranced Lilium regale, ‘Stargazer’ or the pollen-free but scented bloom types like ‘Polar Star’ or ‘Broken Heart’. Choose a large, deep pot at least 25cm (10in) in diameter for three to four bulbs and make sure there is a layer of drainage at the base, for example crocks or gravel. Use a mixture of 60 percent loam-based potting mix (John Innes No 3) with about 20 percent added horticultural grit to improve drainage, plus 20 percent leaf mould or ericaceous peat free compost. Incorporate controlled-release fertiliser granules in the mixture to ensure plants are fed through the growing season. Bulbs should be planted with the pointed tip facing upwards and the basal plate with hairy roots dangling down. Plant stem rooting lily bulbs – those that root from the base and also the stem just above the base (Lilium longiflorum for instance) at a depth of 2-3 times the bulb height, and those that are basal rooting lilies such as the Asiatic hybrids for example Lilium maculatum, (although they are not normally scented) at a depth the same as the height of the bulb. Position in sun or part shade and water regularly. Taller plants may need staking
  • Feed shrubs, roses and container plants with a general-purpose fertiliser such as Vitax Q4, Growmore, Fish, Blood & Bone or chicken manure pellets to give plants the nutrients they need once weather warms up. Specialist fertilisers for many plants are available, such as ericaceous fertiliser for acid-loving plants like azalea, camellia and rhododendron) – see online or instore for details.
  • On dry days remove algae from paths and patios using a proprietary product available in store or online!
  • Get digging! Improve the drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter such as Country Natural Organic Stable Manure or Gro Sure Farmyard Manure and incorporate coarse gravel
  • Rose pruning: late February is an ideal time to prune your rose bushes, as they are coming into new growth. Make the best of your roses by pruning which encourages new growth and better blooms, plus helps reduce diseases. Always prune to an outward facing bud, using clean, sharp secateurs. Hybrid tea (large flowered) and floribunda (cluster flowered) roses are pruned as follows: firstly, cut out any dead or diseased branches, and remove any that are rubbing or crossing over. Then for hybrid tea roses: cut back shoots to 10-15cm from the base of where last year’s growth began. Floribunda roses should have their shoots cut to 25-30cm of soil level.
  • Check container plants for watering as it’s easy to forget them over the winter and they still dry out in dry conditions. Now is a good time to top up your pots with fresh compost, and add a fertiliser such as Miracle Gro Continuous Release fertiliser to ensure your plants get the nutrients they need throughout the growing season
  • Mulching your soil with organic matter not only tidies the garden borders and helps improve soil texture, it also helps protect plant roots in winter and helps the ground retain moisture in summer. We sell the following: Levington Soil Conditioner, Gro-Sure Smart Ground Cover, Country Natural Organic Stable Manure, Strulch, and composted or chipped bark. Spread a layer at least 5 - 7cm deep for best effect.