Greenfingers - February 2019

The Stroud Potato Day is on Saturday 2nd Feb in the Farmers Market, which is a good opportunity to chat about chitting with experts and try a few different varieties.

Birds0219The list of birds seen to land in the garden during the year was slightly disappointing, compared to 2017 when a pheasant and buzzard joined the list, and especially when the 2018 penguin was ruled offside. However, 2019 has started well, with a visit from a pheasant early in January.

Wisteria should be pruned and deciduous grasses cut back. Evergreen grasses can be tidied up by removing old or damaged leaves. The old leaves should be removed from Hellebores, the better to see the flowers, and many perennials and bulbs such as snowdrops may be propagated by lifting and splitting the root ball or bulb mass. Some plants can be propagated from root cuttings at this time of year, such as Phlox, Papaver, Acanthus and Verbascum. Last year, the moth caterpillars turned many leaves of the mullein to lace, but a drenching of garlic liquor seemed to limit the spread.

Overwintering tubers and bulbs can be watered and brought into the light and into early spring growth.Sweet peas can be sown and kept in a cool greenhouse or coldframe, and any summer flowering lily bulbs which have overwintered in pots should be checked for grubs before encouraging into growth.

On the 19th February the moon will be at perigee (when it is closest to the earth), with a full moon 7 hours later, which will look larger and brighter than usual, occupying an angular diameter of 33.28arcmin when full versus the average 31.07arcmin. (The sun is ~32arcmin).

Pete Smith