Definition of February = "the second month of the year, in the northern hemisphere usually considered the last month of winter" - Horay! That means Spring is just around the corner but if you look really carefully you can see that sneaky Spring is already lurking in the background ready to pounce!
So..... what to do when you are nearly there? Ready and waiting to grow all these beautiful flowers but the frost keeps biting at your ankles and warning you not to.....not just yet?!
Prepare (a bit boring I know but some sort of pleasure can be taken from sitting in front of a fire on a cold blustery evening planning/buying seeds and figuring out how to make the most of your space in the months to come).
Buy seeds from artisan sellers whose seeds have not been commercially cultivated on a huge scale if you are passionate about the earth and appreciate locally grown produce than why not buy as locally as possible? You reap what you sow as they say! Plus the quality and growing success from these smaller seed firms are much better. I particularity like ; http://higgledygarden.com/ not only are his seeds great but check out his growing guides and hey, lets be honest who wouldn't love a hand written letter with a bunch of cracking seeds landing through your door on an otherwise gloomy winters day?!
Don't forget to gather seeds in the coming seasons - my seed collection has grown massively in the last year from my gorgeous Nan collecting seeds for me to friends of friends coming forward with their old favourites - always a winner when you have recommendations from other tried and tested flowers.
The other preparations you can make when the weather allows is to top up your beds with some home made or shop brought compost & manure - feed your soil and reap the rewards later!
Ces't Moi with my compost bins #loveyourcompostbins ! and look blue sky!
For Compost - everyone has their own 'special' way of making compost - chuck it all in and see, or precise amounts of brown matter to the vegetable matter that goes in - turn or not to turn, I think this is all very much a matter of opinion and of course reflects how you manage your time or indeed whether you have the time to give to it! I am a chuck it in and see kinda gal! (although no meat, dairy products or fats as it attracts those pesky rats!) But I do have some 'ingredients' that I feel good about putting into those compost bins, they are;
Egg Shells - crushed up egg shells in your compost is another little step further in the war against the slug - they don't like the scratchy sharp feeling of the egg shells however small so keep these in at all costs!
Tea Bags - I remember my Grandad always chucking his teabags in the compost heap and if you have a serious tea affliction like me then this can only be a good thing. The tea bag provides great nourishment and aids in moisture retention for those long awaited dry days. I'd Love to know your must have compost components - leave a comment below if you wish?!
If you really cant wait to get seed planting then February is the month to plant out your sweet peas (if you wish) I am experimenting this year - I am growing them in batches for prolonged flowering capabilities (once in February and once in April) and I am growing in my favourite Sweet pea spot against a sheltered sunny fence which I support with netting and in a big blue drum which me and my Son had lots of fun drilling holes in a few weeks ago!! These drums are readily available and because of the Sweet Peas love of long roots they should thrive in it. I have friends that grow sweet peas in these drums every year and as a space saving device it could really work - I will update you on their progress as the season progresses. You can plant in pots and transplant or you can direct sow a bit later than February because of that pesky frost!
Scary Fact - I read this week that children are spending less and less time outside - I was never in as a child and am making it my mission to get my children out as much as possible (even if that means letting them loose with a power drill!!!)
Soak your Sweet pea seeds for 24 hours before planting out/planting in pots as this re-hydrates the seeds and gets their long roots a head start.
This year I am growing these varieties of Sweet Pea - 'Mammoth, Jilly, Charlies Angel & Swan Lake
But of course there are no limits to what you can grow best way to find out your favourites is to give different varieties a try.
Whats growing and being used in my floral arrangements this month;
The awesome Succulent - these aren't even in my cutting patch but have taken root in a small patch of earth outside my front door - pretty much the easiest thing I have ever grown - I was given a clump by my Nan and they spread beautifully and keep alive in arrangements long after everything else has wilted away - carefully pull out the individual succulants including the root which will need a little wash before arranging either cut the root or wind it into your arrangement if you keep as much root as possible these little beauties can be transferred back into the soil and happily take root for another time or just as a reminder of an event close to your heart like the ones in the picture below which were for a Ruby Weddding Anniversary event I was lucky enough to style - check them out!
This blog is my journey through the seasons where I am creating and nurturing my cutting patch to compliment my floral designs for my upcoming Wedding and Event Flowers - you may have a different agenda, growing for your own pleasure, growing for your own wedding or growing together as a family? What ever your reasons I would love to share my journey but equally would love to hear from you as to your highs and lows of the seasons of growing flowers.
Until Next Month