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On the Menu for ... February 2018

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get outside and sink your hands into the soil. If you garden on clay though, you will require so many pairs of thermal gardening gloves to cope that you won’t be able to move your fingers. The birds are devouring the contents of all the feeders, and the seedheads left for them are long emptied. In some winters, I will spot an early emerging bee braving the elements, but it would have to be pretty foolhardy to venture out at the moment. Still, if one does there will be nectar waiting. 

Some beekeepers make sugar water available to their hives at this time of year, and we, as gardeners can do our bit, both for honey and wild bees, by ensuring that we grow flowers that will sustain our pollinating insects should they venture out in the colder months.

Helleborus x hybridus continues to flower. Every year I extend my collection because there is always a new, delightfully marked bloom that I want to see every winter in my own garden. They are year-round winners for wildlife as their handsome foliage offers shel99999ter for creatures once blooming time is over. 

Iris reticulata is the flower of the moment. I plant it in river-like drifts through borders, although it looks wonderful grown in small pans as we see at flower shows at this time of year. 

Iris reticulata

Iris 'Painted Lady' (Reticulata)

There are so many marvellous snowdrop days around the country, which is great for galanthophiles and bees alike. Snowdrops are nectar- and pollen-rich, so if anyone needs an excuse to buy snowdrops (as if an excuse is ever required), remember the bees, but please don’t forget that double-flowers are more difficult for the bees to access. That said, I have read that bees work Flore Pleno. I don’t grow it, so I am unable to comment on whether this is true. Have you seen bees using Flore Pleno? 

Shelter for minibeasts

It is tempting to begin to cut back herbaceous perennials on a sunny day in February, but I will be leaving mine until spring is properly under way. Their stems provide shelter for minibeasts and they do look wonderful with their little snow hats on. 

When it is too cold to spend time in my own garden, I love to see plants growing in gardens that are a few weeks ahead of mine so I will be linking this post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day which is hosted by May Dreams Gardens http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/ Why not pop over there to see the flowers blooming elsewhere this week?

Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

Sarah Shoesmith is a garden writer who blogs at http://www.thegardeningshoe.blogspot.com .
She may be contacted via http://www.sarahshoesmith.com or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter

4 Comments To "On the Menu for ... February 2018"

Arun Goyal On 16.02.2018
What a lovely Hellebore that is wish could be grown in our hot climates,Although Iris do bloom in our spring time which has started. Reply to this comment
Dorothy On 15.02.2018
What lovely February blooms you have. I am envious. Happy Bloom Day. Reply to this comment
Toni On 15.02.2018
Your blooms are gorgeous, especially the Iris reticulata. Lovely color. Thank you for sharing. Reply to this comment
Peter On 15.02.2018
Oh my, iris reticulata always make me swoon at this time of year but somehow I forget to add them to my fall bulb order. Your beautiful images have made me vow to correct that this year. Happy GBBD Sarah! Reply to this comment
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