Gardening Tips: Camelias bring colour to dark winter days

Camelias add a splash of colour to the cold winter months
Camelias add a splash of colour to the cold winter months

If your garden is in a mild location in the UK then snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils will begin to show their heads in February.

But beware – the weather is changeable and can still be bring days that are extremely cold and full of frost.

Time, therefore, to give your garden a little bit of love with a quick tidy up.

And you could also start sowing seeds and planting – weather permitting.

Growing your own plants from seeds is one of the most rewarding and economical ways of getting your garden going after the winter months.

For grow your own gardeners February is all about cultivating and prepare seed beds (if the ground isn’t frozen) and covering them with clear polythene, cloches or fleece to warm up the soil before sowing.

From mid-February you can sow tomato and cucumber seeds for growing in greenhouses, and plant out garlic and shallots in light soils.

This is also your last chance to winter prune apples, pears and autumn fruiting raspberries and to plant bare-rooted raspberries.

A simple garden solution for February is to make a mini woodland glade in your garden.

If you haven’t any dappled garden shade you are missing out on some amazing plants.

Plant a couple of small trees such as weeping willow and twisted hazel - add lots of leaf mould to the ground to make these woodland natives feel at home.

Then plant some hellebores, a couple of pots of dwarf daffodils and some native cyclamen into the ground and fill in the gaps with ferns. Finish the whole thing off with a covering of bark chippings.

Another woodland plant to consider, that does best when planted in a sheltered or shady position, is the Camellia.

It’s also ideal for the romantics among you looking for a floral gift for your loved one as the fragrant Camellia represents desire, passion and perfection.

Camellias are also one of the best garden plants to use for adding a real splash of colour in the dark winter months.

They are a wonderful plant to grow in the garden or a container.

They can be grown in a more exposed position if watered carefully and thrive in a free draining spot with plenty of humus in the surrounding soil.

Depending on the variety, you can have flowering from November through to April and the range of colours is vast, from light pinks to dark reds and stunning whites with single, double and other flower forms.

As it gets towards the end of January and into February, prune large flowering clematis right back to a strong bud and divide and re-plant snowdrops.

If the weather is dry, keep an eye on evergreens in containers and make sure they are watered regularly.

Once winter flowering jasmine has blossomed, cut out dead steams, trim back new shoots and tie back the new growth.

For the maximum show of flowers later in the year, cut back summer flowering shrubs such as buddleia, lavateria and hardy fuchsia.

Deadhead winter flowering pansies to keep them blooming and, depending on frosts, prune roses, climbers and hardy evergreens.