Get Ready for Spring – by Karen

The first half of February saw some cold mornings with temperatures dropping below zero and the ground frozen solid.  It is mornings like these that bring the birds into our gardens looking for food and I for one am always happy to oblige and put food out.  One particular morning  I counted nine blackbirds waiting just outside the kitchen window where I had been leaving the food.  Now I know that robins are very territorial birds, but blackbirds! There was one in particular that kept standing guard over the food and whoa by tide any other bird that came near as it would soon see them off.  One of the funniest things I have ever seen is a blackbird running round the garden chasing another blackbird, literally!

A very territorial blackbird


The last few weeks of February have been a lot milder, although at the time of writing this I am told that wintry showers are expected.  The milder temperatures have awoken the winter flowering plants and the likes of snowdrops and hellebores come into their own.  It’s a good time of year to get out and about and visit some spring gardens and get some ideas.

Hellebore photographed by Karen at Dunham Massey spring garden in Altrincham, February 2012

Snowdrops photogrpahed by Karen at Dunham Massey spring garden, in Altrincham, February 2012

 It also the right time of year when deciduous shrubs can be moved and mature clumps of perennials can be lifted and divided.  There isn’t really much maintenance work in my own garden at present as its fairly new, but I do need to relocate a couple of shrubs, which with hindsight were planted in the wrong place. I also need to reduce the height of the deciduous hedge in the next few weeks as the sap is rising and it won’t be long before the birds start nesting again.

Indoors I have managed to sow seeds for the tomatoes and peppers which will be grown in the greenhouse this summer.  They need a long growing season so it is best to get these started as early as possible.  However, if growing these outside it is always best to delay the sowing time until at least late March. This for me is where the fun begins, as March is the time when the majority of flower and vegetable seeds can be sown and is really the start of my gardening year.

This article was compiled by Karen Ashton – Client Manager at Balance Accountants

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