Pacific Northwest Gardener's February Checklist
February is an exciting moment in our area’s gardens. This is the month when we proceed from planning to doing. Dust off those gardening gloves and enjoy a few leisurely hours doing what anglers do best — puttering.
Does your garden need a little something? This is a good excuse to visit your favorite nursery and see what’s shining this season. While you’re there be sure to pick up seeds for your favorite flowers and vegetables. Of course, you can not possibly come home with no a new rose, can you? My favorites would be the English roses. What about you personally?
And will you honestly resist those cute little pots of pansies, primroses and stunt daffodils?Just a few bucks and you’ll give your winter containers a fresh lease on life.
Consider me your private gardening and shopping coach!
More regional backyard guides
February highlights. There ought to be something in your backyard that brings you joy each month of this year — maybe it is unexpected fragrance or even a bright splash of color. Or perhaps it is the birds a plant attracts.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) has all three of those qualities thanks to its spidery flowers this season. Be certain to include at least one of those great shrubs in your winter garden.
Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades – $21.95
Plan a vegetable garden. With numerous gardening books available, how do you pick? I must confess I have a few — every invaluable for reasons that are different. This book by Steve Solomon is regarded as the number-one book for dependable Pacific Northwest info — add it to a library.
Start sowing. Collect your seeds, assess the planting dates and begin sowing. I enjoy spending a few hours in my greenhouse when it is cold and blustery outside. The superb earthy odor reminds me that spring is not too far away.
Salad greens are easy to begin now in an unheated greenhouse, using a coating of row cover for protection on specially frosty nights or under hoops outside. These greens create a fantastic cut-and-come-again crop and taste so much better when they go from backyard to table in only minutes.
A cold frame also extends the harvest and leaves extra room inside the greenhouse. It’s also invaluable for hardening off the following month as you get them ready to be transplanted into the garden.
Move the mason bees out. Now is your time to wake those mason bees upward! Place them where they will get warm sunshine but are protected from rain.
We made this very simple mason bee condominium utilizing scrap lumber and parts of downspout pipes. The tubes on top are full of mason bee cocoons, while the lower ones are ready to be filled by the next generation of bees.
We needed to modify this design, however. Swallows nested in the apex the first season and caked on breakfast. So we’ve since added some fine mesh so that the bees can come and go in peace.
Or you may make a habitat for a great number of pollinators by providing a seasonal assortment of tubes and blossoms — decorative as well as functional.
Start your sweet peas. Certainly sweet peas are among the highlights of a summer garden. Their intoxicating fragrance and amorous color blends create them a must-have for a sunny spot. Nurseries usually carry seedlings, but they are really easy to grow yourself. Renee’s Garden is regarded as one the top seed sources for sweet peas.
Make tubes from paper, pack them gently with potting soil and include 1 seed (soaked overnight in water) per tube. Every seedling will create a much deeper root system than those in shallow nursery pots, and the whole tube may afterwards be planted in the backyard.
That is a fun job to do with children of all ages.
Gardening with Confidence®
Plant roses. Bare-root and potted roses can be found this month. Look for people with multiple powerful canes and an outward-facing structure.
Ask your nursery professional for information on which ones are disease resistant, fragrant, heirloom varieties or long bloomers. There are so many to pick from.
Care for containers. Give your containers a mini makeover by tucking in some dwarf spring bulbs. You don’t even have to plant the bulbs — only hide the nursery bud in the surrounding foliage. ‘Tete a Tete’ daffodils, shown here, are just one of my favorites, with every bulb throwing up multiple flowers. Echo the colors already in your container for a cohesive appearance.
Treat yourself in your favorite nursery, discover your trowel and enjoy your garden this season.