It’s hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago we were buried under a foot of snow. The weather has been relatively warm and blissfully sunny. The scent of Sarcococca fills the air and daffodils are starting to peep up. It’s time to garden, right? There are definitely quite a few things that can be done for your landscape in February.
1. Think about the things that you were happy with in the garden last year and the things that disappointed you. February is a great time to plan, whether you’re doing the thinking and drawing yourself or employing a professional. Many of us have the opportunity to host parties in the garden during the summer time. February is a great time to plan and March is a fabulous time to plant. That gives your garden a chance to grow in and become lush by the time you want to have everybody over for the family BBQ in July.
2. It’s never too late (or early) in the year to add hardscape! We’re lucky in Seattle because landscaping can be installed all year round. Unless we experience a very hard freeze, you can sand set flagstone and pavers all through the winter. If it’s below freezing a concrete pour becomes more complicated. However, it’s pretty rare in Seattle that the day time temperatures aren’t above 32 during the day.
3. February is a great time for tree installation. There are great deals to be found in the winter. Many nurseries have trees and shrubs marked down. They’re looking to move old stock before they order in new stock for the spring. Just be careful to check both trees and shrubs for evidence of root binding and weak crowns.
4. Nobody’s favorite task, but always necessary- garden clean-up. Our gardens are often battered and tattered by the time February blows in. This year has been particularly hard on our gardens so far. It’s always OK to prune off dead, dying or broken branches on trees. The ice storm we experienced in January can leave some evergreen trees and shrubs splayed open. If possible, try to bind them back together. If the plant is too broken to be tied up you can prune off the leaning branches and foliage.
5. Order seeds and bare root plants for installation in March. I love looking at the Territorial Seed Company catalog every winter. It’s fun to plan which vegetable crops I’m going to plant and which flowers my daughter will broadcast everywhere. If you have a bit of patience, the variety of roses available bare root far exceeds what you’ll find in the local nursery. The patience comes into play when it takes a couple of years for the roses to really fill out.
Above all, get outside! Enjoy this beautiful sun (develop some vitamin D)! In Seattle we’re blessed with an extraordinary climate for gardening. Even in winter you can plan, execute and enjoy your outdoor space.