February gardening tips
Bulbs, flowers and containers
Buy and plant container-grown snowdrops - add some compost to the soil plus a sprinkling of bonemeal and plant them slightly deeper than they were in the pot.
Pot up lily bulbs to flower in early summer in barely moist compost and keep somewhere light and frost free. Only increase watering if the compost dries out or you see shoots appear above the surface; lily bulbs rot easily in overly wet conditions. Bring dahlias out of hibernation and pot them in compost singly or dormitory style in a tray! Keep them somewhere light and frost free.
Sow sweet peas under a cloche or in the greenhouse for a cheery reminder that spring is on the way.
Brighten up a dull month with pansies, violas, primroses and heathers - pansies densely packed make for a truly striking display. Once the ground is less sodden plant pots of flowering spring bulbs and primroses in empty gaps - a bit of a cheat, but who cares!
If the weather really does turn dry, do remember pots and containers will need watering, especially if they are near a wall and in a sheltered position. Take care not to overwater.
Hellebores - or Lenten roses - in their many lovely colours will be opening from now on well into the spring. Trim off their old leaves, both to display the flowers better and to prevent the spread of disease. Fresh new leaves will emerge in the spring.
Hostas - although there is no sign of these above ground yet it is not too early by the middle of the month to water liquid slug killer around them to deal with the pests which are down there waiting for spring. Do this again after a fortnight and again a fortnight later, and your hostas will have their best ever chance of not being devoured by their worst enemies by midsummer.