February in the garden

Tips from the team of experts at Tong for early spring

Alliums

Give seeds a head start

It’s the ideal time to sow seeds indoors including herbs, vegetables and summer bedding plants such as dianthus, lobelia, ageratum and geraniums. It’s also time to start your potatoes, onion sets, garlic, asparagus and rhubarb.

Give your lawn some love!

It’s still too early to begin treatment but your lawn will benefit from a good rake to get rid of fallen leaves and other debris. You can spike your lawn now to aerate it and encourage root growth.

Plant climbers and roses

If the soil has warmed up, then it’s a good time to plant climbers including clematis, ivy, honeysuckle, Virginia creeper and roses to provide colour, eight and interest in your garden.

Spring into Action

The shorter days are almost behind us and spring is in the air! The garden is bursting into life, it’s a time for new growth and fresh ideas so we’ve asked the experts at Tong to get you set to grow! As the garden wakes up, it’s a lovely time of the year to head outdoors and get your garden in order and work on new ideas for your plot. It’s also the perfect time to plant summer flowering bulbs. They’ll bring you scent, structure and colour when the warm sunshine arrives!

“Bulbs are a really cost effective and rewarding way to fill your garden with summer colour, but be choosy! Bulbs should be firm with no trace of mould. The rule of thumb is the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom!” says Phil Hemmings, garden care supervisor at Tong Garden Centre.

“Timing is also crucial – plant your bulbs as soon as the weather takes a turn for the better and the ground begins to warm up. In the meantime, store them in a cool but frost-free environment.”

There is a terrific choice but the team at Tong have shared their top five favourites summer flowering bulbs:

1Alliums

Alliums with their showy flower heads in wide range of sizes and shades, they’re perfect for bridging the gap between late summer into early autumn. Purple sensation is a stunning allium and will thrive in sunny spot.

2Freesias

Freesias an exotic look yet easy to care for, they’re a perfect lowmaintenance, high-impact choice!

3Gladioli

Gladioli growing tall and available in a rainbow of colours, gladioli create a dramatic and vibrant border backdrop.

4Lilies

Lilies an impressive addition to your garden if you have rich, well-drained soil and a partially-shaded area, plus they smell wonderful!

5Dahlias

Dahlias invaluable in the summer border and perfect for cutting, dahlias are easy to grow and
colourful, often with showy flowers. They are, however, tender so you must remember to lift them at the start of winter and store in a cool, frost free place.

 


Tong Top Tip

You can still add colour in spring with ready growing bulbs known as ‘bulbs in the green’. Look out for snowdrops, bluebells and winter aconites that can be planted straight away.


 

Tong Garden Centre’s guide to planting summer flowering bulbs

Planting bulbs is easy but Steve Smith, the plant buyer at Tong, shares a few simple guidelines to ensure successful flowering:

  • Make sure the soil has warmed up sufficiently before planting out
  • Using the bulb as a guide, plant about three times its depth, cover with soil and gently firm the earth
  • Sit bulbs on alpine grit to improve drainage as waterlogged soil may cause rot

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