//Philippa’s Newsletter – February 2018

Philippa’s Newsletter – February 2018

February in My Garden by Philippa Thomas

With Spring just around the corner, there is plenty to do in the garden…  Our days are definitely lengthening and officially, our Spring has arrived.  …Even though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors an occasional dose of sunshine might certainly put the gardening bug back into you and ‘pep’ in your step!  …Then, with a little Dalkey Luck, Mother Nature might send some magnificent intricate buds and blossoms your way.  …Though in all honesty, we are now at a time when we can no longer put off our garden projects, waiting for a nice day… though, likewise don’t get caught off guard…  Winter is far from being over.

“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story?   Ultimately We Write It.  The Choice Is Ours.”     Alex Morritt.

Even without any additional heat, the polytunnel is still warmer than the outside, especially on bright sunny days.  …So maybe, house a few of your favourite terracotta planted pots in order to overwinter and protect them.  Some Cannas, Lilies and Gingers respond really well and then of course, it gives them a head start for late Spring’s lively tapestry of life.


With all the old leaves removed by January, mice don’t have the chance to eat the new flower buds.  If, for some reason, your Hellebores develop black veins, – these plants are best dug out and burned as they have Hellebore black death.

Wonderful Houseplants:

Many of us, are noticing now, that foliage indoor plants and succulents are enjoying a renaissance, particularly with those of us living in rented accommodation who have no outdoor space.  Such lovely people are experiencing an urge to reconnect with nature and buying a few house plants for your flat may nurture an interest that lasts for the rest of your life.  …So, sales of such plants are ‘on the up’, especially Aloe Veras, Echeverias, Exotic Succulents and Jungle Style Foliage Plants thanks to social media, live pictures, sharing websites such as Pinterest and Instagram.  Actually I just had a new modem delivered this afternoon and my delivery man confirmed a ‘growing’ interest in such, – excuse pun!

Asian Hornet Outbreak:

The Asian hornet preys on Honeybees so it really is a great danger to our native pollinators.  Asian hornets have dark abdomens with a single band of yellow.  …If you think you’ve seen one, you can report it, using the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app, which is free of charge from Apple and Android App Stores.

‘Blue Halo’ on your flowers attract bees:

Researchers have now discovered that the petals of many flowers have tiny raised patterns that diffract blue and ultraviolet light.  This produces a blue halo that is almost invisible to us but can be clearly seen by foraging bees, helping to draw them towards the flowers.

Irish Cuttings: A Very Straightforward Technique:

Irish cuttings can be described as rooted shoots.  A very simple and effective method of propagation.  In the Spring when the new shoots are coming up, scrape away some soil from the base of the plant and cut a shoot with a few roots attached from the plant.  Pot up as usual.  This method more or less, guarantees that the cuttings will take.  …The other great advantage of using this method is that, it hardly disturbs the mother plant.  When they are rooted, they can be moved into bigger pots.

 Did You Know  ???

  1. Did you know that double flowered Snowdrops once they open, they stay open unlike most singles.
  2. Did you know… believe it or believe it not, that the wrappers of Quality Street chocolates are compostable.
  3. Seaweed fertilizer sales are on the rise as gardeners turn to more natural products.

Might Do, Maybe February Jobs.

  1. Shrubs/Bush Roses: Shorten long stems to avoid the plant being blown about by the wind, during Winter.
  2. Black Spot on pansies and violas is a fungal problem. The best advice is to avoid growing them in the same place next year
  3. Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper: Trim back any shoots that are outgrowing their support.
  4. Mahonias: Remove the top rosette or leaves from leggy stems so they become bushier.
  5. Remove any leaves and other debris from gutters, especially important where your downpipe is connected to your water butt.
  6. Grey mould, (Botrytis,) is the biggest threat to plants growing in the greenhouse. Try to encourage ventilation to avoid still, damp air and regularly check over plants and remove any dead material.
  7. Alstroemarias in pots need to be moved to a sheltered spot, next to a wall.
  8. Lush effects can be created simply by grouping pots.
  9. Maybe, group shade-tolerant plants in dark areas.

“From plants that wake when others sleep, from timid Jasmine buds that keep their odour to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about.”       Thomas Moore.


“The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.”     Rabindranath Tagore.

2018-01-22T18:16:58+00:00January 17th, 2018|