It’s still too early to write about planting which will flower during the spring because there is quite a lot of colour in the garden and the recent rain has caused the foliage to look quite refreshed.
Bear in mind that a little bit of colour and good-looking foliage all keeps the winter at bay.
I wonder if you’re a bit fed up with your grape hyacinths?
Are they as good as when you planted them 30 years ago, or are they all over the place with just a few blue blobs on a mass of thick, grass-like foliage?
This is an excellent time to sort them out because the foliage has now grown through the surface of the soil.
Have a go at this and you won’t be disappointed.
Find a large piece of cardboard, dig out every bulb and put them on to the cardboard.
Once every one has been dug out, you need to be really strict with yourself and shake the soil off every clump.
There will be dozens of tiny bulbs with a few large ones. Keep the large ones and take all the others to the recycling centre or give them to someone who has a wild garden where they can be replanted. Please don’t put them out into the countryside.
Replant the large ones in a place where you will really enjoy them and fork in some Vitax Q4 fertiliser, rose fertiliser or blood, fish and bonemeal applied at a rate of 4ozs per square yard.
Then plant the bulbs in groups of five in little circles or as an informal drift. Bulbs planted in a drift look spectacular and add informality into the garden.
In spring you will see an excellent show of lovely large flowers, just like they were when you planted them all those years ago.
Another plant which is a sheer delight but well-known for going mad is the forget-me -not.
These grow everywhere, even up in walls. When I do talks, a lot of people ask me how to get rid of them because they are so invasive.
Dig them all out and keep the roots moist by placing the plants in a seed tray.
Then fork over an area where they will produce a blue carpet of flowers in spring.
Plant them 5in apart. Work in blood, fish and bonemeal using 4ozs over each square yard and water the plants afterwards.
Plant pink Darwin tulips in the soil between the forget-me-nots about 8in apart and 5in deep and you’ll enjoy a very pleasing, tasteful spring display at a bargain price because you’re only paying for the tulip bulbs and fertiliser.
JOBS TO DO
Check the greenhouse heater to ensure it will work when needed.
Keep deadheading the dahlias and remove the two little buds alongside each of the centre buds to ensure the new blooms will have long stems.
Try to do some winter digging, incorporating manure or compost where the potatoes, peas and beans are to be planted.
Remove yellowing leaves on the Brussels sprouts. Keep the ground firm and use canes to support the plants if you garden in a windy area.
Prick the soil over around spring hearting cabbages and hand-pick caterpillars or dust with Pyrethrum powder if you can’t find the pests.
Pick up fallen leaves and put them into former compost bags turned inside out. Add 1 part urine and 7 parts water and this makes leaf mould in a year.