February Focus

Hooray ! We can now celebrate the awakening of hibernating creatures , to emerge and embrace Imbolc ! This is when we are half-way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox , so very much on the right side of the dark side . I love this celebration , and it is clear to see all around us ; the Snowdrops , Winter Aconites , Cyclamen coum and Crocuses pushing through the toughest of grass underneath deciduous trees (how do they do that !). Even those Trees and Shrubs have buds and blossom beginning to break on their branches.

Perhaps the favourite February Flowers in the Garden , and for cutting , are the heavenly Hellebores. These may last longer as cut flowers if cut once their seed pods are developing and they no longer need to bow their heads to protect their precious pollen and nectar while the Bees feed from them and pollinate them. The stems can be seared (placed in just boiled water for 5 seconds, then steeped in cold water) or the stems can be cut up their middle to greatly increase their surface area for water uptake. Equally their heavy heads can be supported by other plants such as Sarcococcas or Skimmias, or even just budding branches of deciduous Shrubs and Trees (Hazel catkins are glorious , but mind their abundance of pollen !). Alternatively , keep the Hellebores in their pots for a lovely display or , my favourite , float their adorable flowers in water , be it lots in a bowl or singles in smaller glasses or cups.