February - In the Garden

This month finds me reflecting on Teamwork, and the importance of having a great group of supportive members to rally round at times when we need it the most.

Teams come in many varieties, from a family team, dear friends, sporting or work colleagues and can form the backbone of our own individual lives. Without teams our lives can be poorer, we become isolated and/or alone, and it can make our lives difficult to navigate, or to make informed decisions.’ A problem shared is a problem halved’ so they say, and involving your team in your challenges can clear your mind and point towards a solution.

So, a chance for me to celebrate my marvellous team here at the Shop, all are dedicated and super-encouraging, even when presented with some of my more ‘innovative’ schemes! Daughter Lizzy gave me a present a few years ago at our ‘Staff Do’; a keyring on which are imprinted the words Together Everyone Achieves More, which sums up my philosophy perfectly. Equally, teamwork can be found in a town like ours.

I was once asked to write some editorial for a local magazine, and one of the questions asked was ‘What do I like about Colyton?’. My first thought was the sense of community (or teamwork for want of a better word). No matter what is thrown at this place, we rise up and seek to right a wrong; you will remember The Great Laundry Revolution, Save Our Firestation, and the remarkable volunteers who helped support our vulnerable neighbours throughout the Covid pandemic. Undoubtedly Colyton is the most rebellious town in the country, but that is what makes it altogether the most special place to live and work. If we all continue to work together as a team, then we shall really go far! Community is something to be both cherished and celebrated, trumpeted from the rooftops! Our town is amazing, vibrant, remarkable, historic, and incredible – long may it stay this way. So I would like to thank you, dear reader, and my team for your support, as we shall continue to support you as best we can.


February is traditionally the month when snowdrops appear

February is traditionally the month when snowdrops appear, although I have seen them much earlier this year. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope when, according to legend, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end. An angel appeared and transformed some snowflakes into snowdrops proving that eventually winter does give way to spring. One of my favourites, which used to grow in great profusion in my Nana’s garden, is a beautiful double snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis - Flore Pleno). Snowdrops are best bought ‘in the green’, but do ensure that they are obtained from a reputable source.

Weather permitting, there are still some things to get on with in February, so back to it!


  • Top up the food and water supplies for garden birds on a regular basis. Water is especially important if we have a cold spell. Support a container on bricks with a tea light underneath to keep it from icing up.

  • Apply organic-based fertilisers such as well-rotted manure to mature, permanent beds.

  • If the weather allows continue to plant trees and shrubs.

  • If newly planted trees and shrubs have been lifted by frost firm them back into the ground. Mulch with chipped bark to suppress weeds and keep them warm.

  • Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering.

  • If summer-flowering shrubs flowered on new wood, prune them back to promote new growth in the Spring.

  • Prune hardy evergreen trees and shrubs.

  • Prune jasmine and later-summer-flowering clematis.

  • Top-dress or re-pot shrubs in containers.

  • Prune off old stems of herbaceous perennials.

  • Start dahlia tubers into growth by nestling into trays of moist compost. Once shoots are 3” tall they can be taken as cuttings to increase stock.

  • Divide and re-plant snowdrops once they have finished flowering and setting seed.

  • Prepare seedbeds for vegetables (only if the ground is not waterlogged).

  • Lime vegetable plots if necessary. Remember to rotate your plots annually to prevent disease.

  • Continue planting fruit trees and bushes.

  • Mulch fruit trees after feeding. Use chipped bark or good garden compost.


  • Cut back overgrown shrubs and hedges before the nesting season starts.

  • Finish pruning fruit such as raspberries and gooseberries. Mulch with organic matter and they will love you for it!


  • Make sure that hanging baskets, pots and seed trays are clean.

  • Check your stocks of pots, compost and labels.

  • Check tools, equipment and plant supports are sound.

  • Get tools such as mower blades, spades and hoes sharpened for the coming season. We have a regular sharpening service, so call us and we can let you know when the next visit is due.

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