THERE’s nothing that screams spring is coming more than the stunning perfection of a brilliant red camellia in full bloom.

Warm and vibrant, red is also energising and stimulating - a positive colour that awakens our life force after the dormancy of winter.

Highly valued for their stunning floral displays and fresh, glossy, evergreen foliage there are dozens of varieties of camellias to choose from in shades of red, pink, white and cream - and they are currently Plant of the Moment in garden centres around the UK.

Camellia flowers vary in size and shape and like azaleas and rhododendrons they are ericaceous plants which means they need to grow in acid or lime-free soil to ensure they stay healthy.

Grown in the right soil and position camellias usually flower reliably with little care and attention, growing larger over time to develop into impressive flowering shrubs.

Most camellias rarely need pruning, but if they outgrow their position individual shoots can be shortened, and plants can even regrow well if cut back hard into old wood.

Depending on the weather, February is a time to turn your attention back to the outdoors and venture out to see how prepared you are for the start of spring.

Here are some expert tips of what to put on your February ‘to do’ list.

The essential spring job is digging and preparing, just as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen.

Digging and forking the soil allows you to loosen it, remove weeds and add compost or manure, which will improve soil structure and create a moisture and food reserve for plants. There’s nothing better than digging and breathing in the smell of the soil as you turn it over, knowing that your efforts will be rewarded with some great tasting veg or fabulous flowers.

National Trust

This month there are signs of the approaching spring, with bulbs appearing and wildlife waking up as light levels and temperatures increase. There's plenty to do indoors this month to prepare for the season ahead. Outdoors, as the garden comes to life again, it's time to prune shrubs and climbers, such as Wisteria as well as evergreen hedges.


Create leaf piles in quiet corners of the garden border or leave a swathe of grass uncut; these offer mini-beasts places to spend the winter and provide ground feeding birds somewhere to forage. To help birds with springtime nesting, put out the fur from pet grooming so that birds can use the fur and line their nests (February and March and onwards). The RSPB has plenty of further information on how to help birds through the winter.


Any Grow Your Own gardener should be thinking about the sowing season to come and soil preparation. As long as the ground isn't frozen, the key job for this month is to mark out and prepare seedbeds and then cover them with clear polythene, cloches or fleece to warm up the soil before sowing seeds where you want them in the weeks and months ahead.