February, and things in the garden are starting to wake up. The first of the bulbs are starting to break through, many are already blooming. Buds are beginning to swell on shrubs and trees.

Evergreens are the things that provide colour at this time of year, and there are quite a few shrubs that are looking good at the moment.

Elaeagnus Ebbingei ‘Limelight’ has large oval leaves that have a gold variegation in the centre. They grow to about 6ft in height and make an excellent shrub for the back of the border.

Skimmia Rubella is a striking dwarf evergreen. Dark green foliage with clusters of red flower buds all winter that open as white flowers in spring.

VEGETABLES – Sow vegetables under glass. Plant out shallots and  onion sets. Chit potatoes ready for planting.

FRUIT – Prune all fruit bushes. Plant new fruit trees and bushes as long as the ground is not frozen. Prevent bird damage by placing netting over trees and bushes.

FLOWERS – Cut back early and late flowering honeysuckle. Sow half hardy annuals. Prune clematis. Continue to dead-head winter flowering containers.

GREENHOUSE – Sow greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, melons and peppers. Take geranium cuttings. Check heaters regularly.

LAWNS – Lightly mow if conditions are right. Spike established lawns in late February to let air in.

GENERAL – Keep all water pipes drained or lagged. Apply lime if you have not already done so in November. Continue digging when conditions allow. Avoid walking on wet or sticky soil.