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What to do in your garden - February 2020

February may be one of the coldest months, but it’s the perfect time to plan ahead for what’s to come in spring. Whether it’s sowing seeds, summer-flowering bulbs or bedding, Longacres has all you need to get started. Come into our stores or shop online. Here are a few jobs you can be getting on with this month:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Repotting houseplants: now that the days are getting longer and brighter, houseplants can be repotted using a proprietary houseplant compost. Make sure you only pot into the next size pot (or one slightly larger than the size of the plant’s rootball). Over potting into too large a pot can make the roots rot and cause plant death. You can feed your houseplants now, using a suitable fertiliser such as Baby Bio
  • Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) repotting – it’s also a good time to repot your orchid if it has become too large for its pot, or hasn’t been repotted for the last two years. Choose the next pot size up (or even reuse the same pot, because too large a pot will mean the compost and roots stay wet and can kill the plant). Use a proprietary bark-based orchid compost, to ensure good drainage and aeration of the roots. Carefully remove the orchid from its pot, trim off any dead roots (those that are dark brown and shrivelled) and old compost. Carefully hold the plant in the pot at the right level and gently add fresh orchid compost, making sure you firm it so that the orchid stays upright. Do not bury any aerial roots as this can make them rot. You may need to use a cane to support the plant until it becomes established. Water well and allow excess to drain away
  • 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. Full range of spring bedding plants available now, plus our “ready-to-go” hanging baskets and planters for immediate effect – these make ideal gifts too. Here’s our run-down of what’s in store: Common native primrose – Primula vulgaris, pretty pale-yellow flowers. Pansy, primula, polyanthus, viola, arabis, Dianthus deltoides, saxifrage, Bellis perennis
  • Superb range of “Tete a tete” daffodils plus other bulbs in pots – anemone, crocus, winter aconites, iris, tulip, snowdrop, muscari, hyacinth. Ideal for planting out in the garden or brightening up containers and windowboxes
  • Moss/algae on patios and paths: after all the rain we’ve had, patios and paths may be very slippery. Tidy up your patio and paths by removing moss and algae from hard surfaces to help prevent areas become slippery over winter. Use a proprietary hard surfaces cleaner – a full range is available at our garden centres or online: