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February

February is often deemed to be the hottest month of the year. Rainfall can be erratic and dry periods can literally burn up the garden. This month is always a bit of problem for many plants, especially those from temperate climates. Watering and weeding form part of the survival strategy for this time of the year.


  • Many summer flowering annuals start coming to the end of their flowering season and need to be removed.
  • Continue dead heading plants that are still blooming.
  • Regular watering is vital during dry periods.
  • Collect ripe seed of flowers that you wish to grow for next season.
  • Prepare seed and flower beds for autumn planting.
  • Prepare trenches for planting sweetpeas.
  • Do not be tempted to plant out early flower seedlings of pansies and violas. They, like most other winter flowering annuals, do not grow in the heat.

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  • Remove summer vegetables that are coming to the end of their productive cycle and prepare for planting winter and spring crops.
  • Check pumpkins, marrows and cucumbers for mildew.
  • Harvest the last of the summer crops.
  • Sow early crops of peas and broad beans in the cooler climates.
  • Try and keep weeds under control by hoeing between the rows.

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  • Water during dry periods.
  • Many herbs battle with the heat and may succumb to humidity fatigue.
  • Continue sowing regular crops of quick herbs like coriander and rocket.
  • Fertilise to try and encourage healthy growth during this trying period.

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  • Harvest ripe fruit and process for storage.
  • Protect ripening fruit from birds.
  • Top dress citrus trees with compost or well decomposed animal manure.
  • Nuts (pecans, walnuts and chestnuts) start falling and need to be collected or harvested.
  • Continue disposing of fruit that has fallen on the ground by burying it.

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  • Apply a general fertiliser to the whole garden, especially around larger shrubs which often make an autumn growth spurt.
  • Dead head cannas and alstroemerias by pulling up the spent stems from below ground level.
  • Water camellias to prevent them from aborting flower buds.
  • Salvias thrive in the heat and will soon make a spectacular autumn display. Make sure they are fed and dead headed.

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  • Prune summer flowering rambling and climbing roses.
  • Continue fertiliser programme to ensure a spectacular autumn flowering flush.
  • Water deeply during dry periods.
  • Spray every 10 to 14 days to prevent fungal infection.
  • Pay particular attention to redspider mites. Use a magnifying glass to check the undersides of the leaves.
  • Dead head spent flowers.

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  • Apply the last application of high nitrogen fertiliser.
  • Water during hot dry periods.
  • Mow frequently.
  • Be on the lookout for fungal infections like fairy ring, dollar spot and brown patches.
  • Lawn caterpillar is often rife at this time of year.

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  • Check tree ties and standard rose ties for tightness and strangulation.
  • Trim and prune hedges.
  • Take cuttings of soft wooded herbs and shrubs.
  • Keep ponds clean and trim back excessive plant growth.

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