Tag Archives: early blooms

February Garden Activities

iris reticulata, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It’s easy to LOVE February!  The crocus bloom is a Valentines gift I treasure  🙂

Tools

  • It really feels like the beginning of a new season for me.  I like to start fresh, so now’s the time to tidy up the garden shed.  Gather up all the tools.   Scrub off any debris or soil. Wipe wooden handles with some oil to strengthen & lengthen their lives.   Sharpen & oil pruners, shears and hedge clippers making sure they’re rust-free.
Crocus in lawn 2013, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Pruning

  • Summer blooming Clematis (Jackmanii, Earnest Markham, and Tangutica), the ones that flower on wood grown this year, should be cut almost to the ground, down to 4 to 6 buds.
  • For a tidier spring look, shear epimediums before they send up their delicate flower shoots… St. John’s Wort (groundcover) can also be sheered to 2 inches.
  • Prune summer-flowering shrubs like Buddleja davidii, Spiraea japonica, Hypericum forrestii and hardy Fuchsia. They benefit from cutting down hard in mid-late February.  Go crazy & copse the Red Twigged Dogwood.
  • Hydrangea is another summer-flowering shrub to prune now that the buds are showing… but be a little more delicate than a ‘copse’.
  • Tree peony flower in the spring, but by now we can see the buds swelling & know which branches died off through winter, so prune away.
  • When I’m feeling very tidy I’ll also cut back the evergreen sword ferns that are now at their most ragged.  They’ll soon be sporting fresh new growth & it’s kinda fun to watch it unfurl.
  • DON’T PRUNE spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia, Clematis montana, Spiraea x arguta, Buddleja globosa, Viburnum tinus, and Ceanothus burkwoodi now. They flower on stems produced after last spring’s flowering, which have ripened over the summer.
primula, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Fertilizing

  • distribute a handful of lime & bone meal beneath Clematis,  Lilac, Hydrangea, Flowering Red Currant, Peony, Mock Orange, Sedum, Spirea & Aubretia
  • sprinkle tomato food onto areas where spring bulbs grow
Yucca in the winter garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Watering

  • Check any plantings under large overhangs for soil moisture. These areas can get very dry over winter. They don’t need a lot of water but enough to survive
 hellebore and crocus garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Perennials

If they’re outgrowing their space, most late-blooming, hardy perennials can be lifted and divided now.

  • Cut the tops back to a couple of inches.
  • Lift the whole plant out with a fork.
  • Look for a natural line across the plant and cut it with a sharp knife right through.
  • Continue this until you have divided the plant up to suit your needs.
  • Replant the pieces in groups of 3-5 to make an impact in ornamental borders from repeating colour schemes.
  • Pot up spares immediately.
  • Water well.
crocus cluster gardem Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Lawns

  • Looking over the front yard, we seem to have a few blades of grass growing in our moss patch. Moss control can be applied in February, but remember it requires 2 full days without rain.  (Good luck with that  🙂
    The recommended type of moss control is a product that has fertilizer + ferrous sulfate (iron). Something with NPK numbers of 9-3-6 greens the lawn for about 30 days after the moss has been killed. Dolomite lime should be applied about 2 weeks after the moss kill.
  • If the lawn isn’t too wet & grass is growing, give it an early cut.
 bergenia - elephant ears pig squeak garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Veg & Berry Patch

  • Start early plantings providing the soil isn’t saturated. Sweet Peas, Broad Beans, Spinach, Radishes, Green Onions, Chives, Clarkia, Poppies, and Flax will all germinate in the cool weather
  • Start Asian Greens and Radishes under row covers.
  • Buy seed Potatoes now and store the tubers in a light, cool (10°C), frost-free spot and leave them to sprout. This is known as chitting. Egg cartons make good chitting trays. Make sure you put the tubers with the ‘eye’ end ( where the sprouts will grow from) upwards.
  • Dig in over-wintered green manures such as Winter Rye.
  • Top dress’ over-wintered crops, such as autumn planted Onions, Broad Beans, and Spring Cabbage, to give spring growth a boost. Use a good rich garden compost or organic fertilizer.
  • To help the soil warm up more quickly, pull back any organic mulches, then cover with clear or black plastic. Put these in place a couple of weeks before sowing.
Donkey Tail Spurge garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Greenhouse & Cold Frames

  • Tidy up & sterilize thoroughly (even glass) before starting new plants. Remove all traces of last year’s problems rather than putting new plants at risk.
  • Prep seed starting supplies.: trays, pots, starter mix, heat mats, grow lights
  • Start:  Pansies, Lobelia, Begonias, and Pelargonium can be started in the greenhouse.
  • It’s also time to start Artichokes, Onions, Leeks, and Parsley indoors.
mahonia in February garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Watch for ‘damping off’ disease in seedlings in the greenhouse or indoors. This fungus causes the stems to collapse and the seedlings to fall over.

  • Avoid over-crowding seeds & sprouts. It’s better to have a tray of fewer, healthy plants than to lose many to this disease
  • Water often, but sparingly
  • Ensure that seedlings get enough light to prevent them from becoming ‘leggy’.
  • Turn seed trays daily to ensure even growth.
camellia, february, at the legislature, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Seasonal Color

hardy cyclamen coum, persian violet, eastern sowbread, round-leaf cyclamen, C. coum, Cyclamen orbiculatum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Planning & Events

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© SVSeekins, 2014

Early Camellia

Camellia is one of my favourite broadleaf evergreens.  It blooms early, then works hard as background support the other 3 seasons. Several birds make themselves at home in the camellia in our courtyard  – – AND the shrub is deer resistant!   That’s my kind of plant.     🙂

camelia in december, at LD downtown
photo by SVSeekins

A few years ago, I spotted a hedge of camellia in downtown Victoria, beside London Drugs. They were almost finished blooming in mid-December!   I have no idea how early they’d started… November?  October??

Who’d have expected blooms in autumn?

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Not long after that, KC gifted me with a winter-blooming camellia.  It starts blooming before Christmas and has even more flowers through January!

Yeah, Baby!

Once I knew it was possible to have blooms so early in the year, I kept an eye out for even more samples around town:

It was delightful to find another variety of camellia starting to bloom in mid-February sunshine near the BC Legislature.

Just a month later, in March,  I notice these camellia blooming in a yard not far from the YM-YWCA downtown.

A block or so away from our place is a camellia that flowers through April.

Then there is the camellia in our courtyard typically begins blooming in April & is in full blossom in May.

Autumn… winter… spring…

Who knew there are so many cultivars with differing blooming schedules?

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2014

Winter’s Joy – Snowdrops

snowdrops blooming 2013 12 27
photo by SVSeekins

The solstice passed & each day is just a little brighter than the last.  With optimism I step outside searching for signs of the new year…

JOY !!  Snowdrops in bloom  🙂

If these little bulbs can thrive during the cold, cloudy winter, then so can we.

Happy New Year!

P.S. Ok, to be honest:  these blooms are not from my yard.  I searched & searched but found no signs of them yet. BUT  – –  Just 6 houses down the street, there they are!  Talk about micro-climates.    🙂    All the more reason to go for a walk, eh?

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

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