Before the next wave of snow comes in this weekend you might be able to get outside to do a few bits and bobs around the garden, there are certainly a few things to start looking out for!
A key task for the month of February is to finish off any hedge trimming, cut back any ivy that needs a bit of attention and if you are planning on filling any gaps with bare rooted whips, get them in soon. I've been looking at ivy berries recently and many of them don't seem to have fully ripened although i've seen sparrows and finches eating them anyway! Have you noticed the same? If you do give the ivy a bit of a trim, try to leave any berries and have a quick check first for early nesting birds, we've had a couple of reports already of robins and mistle thrushes nesting (in a Christmas wreath and a traffic light respectively!)
One shrub that I always leave a little later for a cut is the buddleia, given the open structure of these late flowering shrubs you can be sure that there are no birds nesting there so I cut these back hard in early March. I usually check the foliage as it is often possible to find a few wintering invertebrates sheltering amongst the seed heads or folded leaves, have a look if you do it and see what you can uncover. I usually bundle up some of the cuttings and lay them at the back of borders to not only provide a shelter but also to give those invert's that are still slumbering a chance to emerge in the garden rather than packing them off with the 'green bin'.
Mentioning buddleias reminded me, it won't be long now before we start seeing our first butterflies, bumblebees and other wildlife that will be emerging from hibernation. Please post your observations of spring coming to life on our community thread here and you can also record various events like the first frogspawn via Natures Calendar.
When the snow does hit remember to keep your feeders topped up and keep a look out for unusual visitors!
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