February is a month of anticipation. Spring feels like little bit closer and the easing of the national lockdown fills us with hope. As January moves into February and the nights are getting lighter, we can also notice the changes in wildlife behaviour.
Winter is often associated with nature bedding down and hibernating until spring, but for some British wildlife, the cooler, darker months are actually when they are at their most active. Mountain hares, starlings, red squirrels, robins, great spotted woodpeckers, foxes, mistle thrushes, redwings, waxwings, and fieldfares can all be spotted this time of year.
Winter Watch has begun on BBC giving us more insight into the winter animals and what to look out for. Have a look at the link to get some more detailed information on the Winter Watch checklist.
Not only can we spot wildlife but look out for Snowdrops that have started to emerge. Despite the cold weather they are one of the first to bloom. Gorse flowers will be around all year round too so have a look to see if you can find them. They have a distinctive coconut scent.
Weatherwise, we’ve already seen the first flurry of snow, even asking our Facebook followers to submit their favourite snowy photos. February can be very cold with frosts and a lot of rain. Its not all doom and gloom, there is still plenty to be getting on with in the garden or even from inside the cosiness of the house.
You could start planning what you want to do with your garden in the months to come, now is the perfect time to order seeds and plants. You could plan your vegetable plot, considering crop rotation and get ahead of your garden plans.
Other jobs you could be doing in the garden this February:
- Plant bare-root roses, shrubs, hedging and ornamental trees, as long as the ground isn’t frozen
- Take root cuttings of fleshy-rooted perennials such as oriental poppies, acanthus and verbascums
- Clear away soggy, collapsed stems of perennials and compost them
- Check that small alpines don’t become smothered by fallen leaves and other wind-blown debris
- Deadhead winter pansies and other bedding regularly, and remove any foliage affected by downy mildew
- Repair wobbly or damaged fences, and treat wooden structures with preservative during dry spell
For the birds:
- Top up bird baths with fresh water daily and melt ice with warm water on frosty days
- Put up bird boxes in sheltered spots, on tree trunks, sheds or walls, well before the nesting season begins
- Provide high-energy food for birds to help them through the winter months
- Trim back ivy, Virginia creeper and other climbers that have outgrown their space, before birds start nesting
- Hang fat balls and keep bird feeders topped up to attract birds, which will in turn eat garden pests.
- Install a nest box with a camera, so you can watch birds raising their young in spring.
- Take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch; get counting for an hour making note of how many and which birds you see. Submit your results online at rsbp.org.uk/birdwatch any time before 19th
- Sprinkle an all-purpose fertiliser along the base of hedges and around shrubs
- Clear soggy leaves, algae and moss from paths, patios, decking and steps
- Check fleece or other insulation is still in place around pots and borderline-tender plants
- Sort out and clean up canes, plant supports and cloches, ready for use in spring
- Clean and service mowers and garden power tools so that they are ready and in good order ready for spring.
- Install water butts now ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants
Remember to keep off the grass when there’s a frost, as the blades are more susceptible to damage. Later when the grass thaws out footprints will show up as yellow patches on the lawn where the grass has been damaged.
Here at Elmtree we have been busy planting trees on our sites. The conditions have been very wet for the team working outdoors at the moment but we really appreciate their hard efforts and dedication. We have also completed landscaping the show home for Crest Nicholson in Keynsham and we have two other show homes to landscape in February so watch out for photos on our Facebook page.
To help ensure the safety of our team members with the stronger strain of the COVID virus is wearing of masks when on the company premises. All of our office staff are now wearing face masks when moving around the office, only removing the masks when at their desks which are spaced over 2m apart.
Several of our team members have had the virus now, but it was caught outside work and thankfully did not spread to anybody else in the workplace due to our strict safety measures.
With the vaccine now rolling out we are hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel and the hope of spring will fill us with renewed energy and health. We have booked a boat for a cruise around Bristol docks in August so our team have something to look forward to after the challenging year we have all had had.