Late Winter This falls in February most years, often bringing the worst weather, hardest frosts and heavy snows, use every mild day wisely. OUTDOORS

  • Check fences, tree straps, ties and stakes after each gale
  • Stick canes around emerging bulbs and plants so you see where not to stand in case of snow
  • When ground is workable plant out hardy trees and shrubs that missed autumn planting
  • After hard frosts re-firm roots of autumn plantings
  • Do major pruning work missed earlier but do not touch stone fruits or evergreens unless damaged by winter storms
  • Stretch cotton over crocus flowers to thwart the birds
  • Mark congested clumps of snowdrops, and other early bulbs, for lifting and dividing after the flowers finish
  • Make sure no weeds are getting away, they pull up easily at this time, stinging nettles come out like magic right now- pull furthest runners first
  • Spread loose mulches under and around everything, preferably immediately after a period of heavy rain
  • Try hoeing as the top surface melts after a long hard frost- the weeds are held fast and slice off cleanly (Only works in stone free soil or with a hoeing mulch of sand)
  • Spread sharp sand on mossy/algae/weed infested stepping stones and paving so they wear clean, and are less slippery.
  • Over-sow balding and worn spots in grass swards, ideally -with a fork make many wee holes first then brush the seed in with a stiff broom