Dear Gardener,

It might be tipping it down out there but it's worthwhile following my February hints and tips between the showers to keep your garden growing!


  • It's time to finish off pruning apples, pears and soft fruit bushes, but it's still a little too early to tackle Buddleia and Lavatera.
  • Keep an eye on the forecast as the coldest days of winter are usually in February and you may need to provide extra protection to some exotic semi hardy plants such as Canna lillies in the form of fleece, bubble plastic, bark or sacking.
  • When buying seed potatoes, ensure you put them in a light, frost-free place to start them growing, known as chitting. This gives your first earlies in particular, a good start when you plant them out in April. Egg boxes are a very useful way of doing this to keep them upright and nicely spaced.
  • It's worth thinking about buying some dahlia tubers now, plant in seed trays or pots and keep in a light, frost-free position place. Once they start shooting, carefully cut off shoots approximately 2 inches (5 centimetres) long and put them in some damp compost, cover with a polythene bag and keep in a similar position. They will root quite readily and you have even more plants to plant out later in spring for free!
  • Some hardy annuals could be sown now such as Sweet Peas, Antirrhinum and Stocks.
  • As long as the ground is not frozen or waterlogged it is a good time for planting trees, fruit trees and bushes, shrubs and hedging plants.
  • Look out for Hellebores! These are fantastic hardy cottage garden plants that have a stunning range of flower colours and shapes throughout this late winter\early spring period. Everything from pure white to almost black! A must for every garden.

Until next month, happy gardening!

The Diamond Garden Doctor