1 Winter aconite
Fully hardy and frost and snow tolerant, winter aconite will multiply to form a glowing carpet of golden flowers until early spring. Like snowdrops, aconite is planted ‘in the green’ while the leaves are still fresh. Or plant bulbs in the autumn. Leave the dying foliage until April or May.
The red, orange, pink or white flowers with golden anthers of the ornamental quince will bring light into your garden before those golden daffodils open. The flowers last from February until early summer, unfurling in clusters along twiggy stems before the dark green, glossy leaves appear.
3 Witch hazel
Why not brighten February days with a spicy, lemony scent drifting from spidery clusters of flowers that survive the coldest of weather? Witch hazel, or hamamelis, will also add colour with shades of yellow, cream, pink, orange or red. Set it among snowdrops, muscari, scillas, and crocuses.
4 Winter jasmine
Flowering from January until March, winter jasmine produces its most prolific blooms in February. The bright yellow flowers will lighten a dark day. It doesn't have tendrils to help it climb so let it scramble over a wall or bank or train it up a trellis. The flowers open into showers of stars.
5 Flowering cherry
Prunus subhirtella autumnalis is an ornamental cherry tree with pink flowers. The showier Prunus x subhirtella autumnalis rosea has red-budded, pink flowers which fade to white. Both bloom from November to March. The autumn leaf colour is lovely and the trees are extremely hardy.
6 Clematis cirrhosa
Most winter-flowering clematis are varieties of Clematis cirrhosa, Evergreen with gorgeous white or cream bell-shaped flowers, some have speckled petals. Plant it against a wall or trellis or in a pot where you can admire the flowers and enjoy the scent. And it’s not susceptible to clematis wilt.
7 Skimmia japonica
Bring continuous colour into your garden from autumn until spring. Male and female skimmia produce white or creamy flowers, some from red buds To also enjoy the bright red berries which form on the female varieties you will need a male plant, which can pollinate up to six female plants.
8 Winter-flowering heather
Winter-flowering heathers are cultivars of Erica carnea and Erica x darleyensis. Their pink, white or purple flowers will delight you for years to come. Many varieties have beautiful foliage, the colour intensifying in the cold. Whether you grow them in a rock garden, border or pot, they are perfect.
Jobs for February & March
- Plant some lily bulbs – five of the same variety in a 25 cm container.
- Prepare the ground for summer-flowering bulbs such as gladioli, alliums. and crocosmia.
- Deadhead pansies and primulas throughout February and March to encourage lots of flowers.
- March is a good time to plant hardy geraniums and astrantia.
- Brighten up your containers with spring bedding plants such as primulas and wallflowers.
- Start pruning early flowering shrubs like forsythia as their display finishes.
- Protect the blooms of camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas from early morning sun.
- Prune climbing roses and shrub roses in March.
- Cut back summer-flowering shrubs such as buddleia, hydrangea and hardy fuchsias.
- Make repairs to your lawn, feed with a spring fertiliser and mow if the grass is growing.