February in the Garden

February in the Garden

February is extra exciting because we start to see the very first hints that spring is coming! It’s a great time to start to rejuvenate your garden. 

Hellebores come in so many varieties, they are just waiting to brighten your February. Daphne, with its unforgettable fragrance, and witch hazel are both blooming brightly now.

You can plant beautiful container plants like pansies, primroses, pericallis, and Icelandic poppies. 

After snowdrops have flowered, crowded clumps can be lifted and divided.

This is a great time to shop for camellias since many will be in bloom this month. Since the plants are still dormant during blooming, it’s also a great time to plant them.

Now is the time to shop for roses! We have our greatest selection in stock now, don’t wait for them to bloom because by that point many varieties will be sold out. See our stock online. The roses in your garden should be pruned hard toward the end of the month.

Bring the outdoors in! Branches of pussy willow, quince, crabapple, forsythia, and flowering cherry may be brought in to bloom indoors. Don’t worry about harming the plants, it’s actually the perfect time to prune fruit trees and many other deciduous trees. 

Prune heather and winter-flowering shrubs after their flowers fade. Cut back Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper as needed.

Check evergreens for signs of desiccation, some may need some extra water to make it through the winter. It’s also a good time to move small trees or shrubs that are growing in the wrong place.

Cut back your overgrown shrubs and hedges like boxwood, laurel, and privet -- before birds start nesting in spring.

Keep your garden beds as weed-free as possible. Any time spent digging up weeds now is time you will save later in spring. Replace mulch as needed.

It’s time to go seed shopping!

In fact, there are some kitchen garden seeds that you can already sow outdoors late this month. According to the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide by Oregon Tilth: carrot family seeds such as chervil, fennell, and sweet cicely, onion family: garlic, onion sets, and shallots, and pea family: fava beans, shelling peas, and snow peas.

For flowers, you can sow members of the following families: borage, buttercup, evening primrose, meadowfoam, mustard, pinks, phlox, poppy, plantain, sunflower, and violets.

You can also start seeds indoors to transplant later in the season. Check out our seed starting guide here.

First off, get acquainted with your last average frost date, so you can count backward and know when to start specific seeds indoors. Here’s a handy chart from the OSU Extension Master Gardeners.

Portland’s last frost date varies greatly depending on location. It could be as early as mid-March if you are close to downtown or as late as mid-April if you are closer to the gorge.

Here are a few examples of seeds you could be starting now: sorrel, celery, fennel, parsley, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, chives, leeks, onions, and lettuce.

Plan a potato bed or clean up the one you have, seed potatoes will be in stock soon!

This is a great time to add trellises and arbors so they are ready to support new growth in spring.

Give your tools an annual wash up and sharpen as needed.

Buy mason bee supplies to get ready for the start of their season. Did you know that mason bees are the number one pollinator of orchards in our area? They are gentle blue-black bees that very rarely sting.

We’ll still have freezes -- watch out for cold snaps and be ready to protect tender plants.

Most of all, look forward to spring. It’ll be here before you know it!

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