Gardening: Branch out with woodland glades

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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 bring days that are extremely cold and full of frost.

Time 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.

February is all about cultivating and preparing 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. With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can start to create a stunning springtime feature. Plant a couple of small trees such as weeping willow and twisted hazel and then 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.

• National Garden Gift Vouchers can be bought and redeemed at more than 2000 outlets in the UK, with more than 90,000 garden plants and products on offer. Visit