my february garden

by Sharon Santoni

My February garden is a time for hope. After the long grey winter, the month of February is the moment to smile in anticipation of the Spring garden which is only just around the corner.

Tulip bulbs that were planted at the end of the year are timidly showing the tips of the first leaves. The daffodils that live beneath the lawn are in bud, and will soon be in flower.

Plant catalogues litter my desk, successfully distracting me from more urgent tasks, and leaving me dreaming of new plant combinations in the months to come.

Just one worrying thought in the back of my mind: after the very mild winter will we be hit by a late and disastrous frost? This has happened for the past two years here, and last spring nearly killed our huge magnolia. There’s nothing we can do about the frost. I’ve tried protecting our espalier apricot tree but to no effect. We just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.

What am I doing in February?

I have sown seeds for sweet peas, zinnias and antirrhinums. These are sown indoors, with some additional light.

We are planting some new roses, and moving others around. The tall climbing roses are bent into arched shapes to encourage a maximum number of flowers.

The huge compost heaps at each end of the garden are drastically reduced in size as we add a second mulch of the dark crumbling ‘home made earth’ wherever we can.

In the potager, we will harvest the last of the Brussel sprouts ( I planted way too many, and we’ve been eating them through the winter). The other crop that has continued through the winter is the spinach. We continue to pick the tender leaves and add them to salads.

We are planting garlic and onions for harvesting in the late spring/summer.

What is flowering right now?

The snowdrops are always our first colour of the year, followed closely by the first daffodils. Hellebore are looking fine, and the magnolia is covered in buds of promise, but won’t flower until March.

This is the season for teasing our tastebuds, getting us excited about the colour to come. These small dots of colour grow close to the ground and to appreciate them requires a degree of concentration.

So I’d love to know what is happening in your garden right now. Are you in Australia and heading to your autumn, or in Massachusetts and still deep in snow? Please leave a comment and tell us where you are and what you have going on in your garden or greenhouse.


Lorrie Orr February 19, 2022 - 11:18 pm

All that’s left in my garden are leeks and kale. Soon these will be pulled and compost laid down for spring planting of radishes, spinach, and lettuce. Crocus is blooming, and other bulbs are poking up through the ground. The camellia buds are swelling, and will soon provide beautiful pink flowers. February is indeed a time for hope.
Your home and garden are beautiful in the golden light.

Pam February 20, 2022 - 9:15 am

Living on the Gold Coast Australia we don’t really go though season’s it summer for another week but it usually still quite warm’ although we have had a lot of rain this summer grass is lovely & green l have roses & lots of cottage garden blooms very pretty!

Pamela February 21, 2022 - 3:28 am

Yes, Sharon, I am in Massachusetts and, until a few days ago with a warm spell of days, have been deeply snow covered. Even then, the earliest tiny lilac nodes were swelling and the snowdrops beginning to grow underneath the winter mulch of salt marsh hay. Your own garden growing is exciting to see and amazingly early in New Englanders’ eyes! Your work and creative vision are motivating to so many of us and I hope that you’re enjoying these lengthening days in beautiful Normandy ~

Sharon Santoni February 20, 2022 - 6:23 pm

Thank you Lorrie. I didn’t grow leeks this year but I will do again next season.

Judy Lambert February 21, 2022 - 6:03 am

Still experiencing cold winds but lots of sunshine , we too are looking forward to spring on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. Buds are forming on trees and flowering bushes. The garlic is up in the garden by about 5 inches ( we plant ours in November) and strawberries are starting to leaf out. Spring bulbs are starting to send their green shoots through the earth as are the hostas. Definitely my favourite time of the year!

Virginia Kinzer February 21, 2022 - 2:40 pm

Living in Northern Virginia USA, I always marvel at the similarity between your flora and fauna and ours. This is the time of the year when I start reading the Spring time section of your book, My French Country Home. This week I look forward to receiving My French Box.

Mary Dorene Bruce February 23, 2022 - 4:40 pm

Living in Ontario, Canada not far from Niagara Falls.
We have about 3 inches of snow….cannot even see my garden but hope springs eternal.
Enjoy all the comments from all around the world.

Rob February 19, 2022 - 11:59 pm

The weather has been so unseasonal here in New Zealand, my husband had difficulty finding even one unblemished rose for Valentine’s Day (even then it only lasted a day inside.) And his vegetable garden has produced virtually nothing, despite his adding a large new bed. Most disappointing, especially with the amount of time he has put into it.

Jane Macdonald February 20, 2022 - 2:48 am

Here in Australia, we are still ambling and lolling through our hot summer in the northern state of Queensland. Perfect for swimming and enjoying our lush greenery of different palms and ornamental ginger plants. Our Ixora have different shades of red and pink flowers bursting through the greenery. We’ve enjoyed rain on and off throughout the summer but after an initial flowering, our Frangipanis succumbed to some sort of affliction – maybe wet feet. But when healthy, they’re scented flowers just smell of summer. Love your garden and pottager and long to be able to grow the range of plants you do in Normandy.

Marie February 20, 2022 - 3:56 am

I am near Sydney Australia and we have had a very wet summer, which is unusual, and everything in the garden is on growth hormones.
We are going into autumn and I am looking forward to a rest from the constant pruning.

Di February 20, 2022 - 4:21 am

Hi, here in the central west of NSW, Australia, we’ve had a fairly mild summer compared to past years, although the February is seeing hotter days with cool nights. I’ve really enjoyed my roses and various bright geraniums. There are lots of oleanders around the district, and the crepe myrtles have put on a great show.

Denise Tyrrell February 20, 2022 - 4:51 am

In Australia we have recently moved from our temperate full country garden in Melbourne to a new garden that has hot summers and frosty winters in North East Victoria and are slowing feeling the seasons before we plant too much. The bones have gone in – silver birches, fruit trees, ginkgo trees, hard patios and paths and lawns areas a gradual project for sure, but so looking forward to experimenting with new plantings through the seasons. Tomatoes in pots have gone really well up here they are living the hotter climate.

Cat February 20, 2022 - 5:42 am

Hi Sharon, I am in Southern California. My garden has already kicked into spring…two months early! Not sure I am ready for it. The roses are leafing out, the peach tree is beginning to bloom, tête-à-tête daffodils are smiling their pretty faces off, the onions and garlic are already knee high, and the cutting garden is looking frothy. I would love to know your top 5 plants in your parterre! Au revoir!

Estie Melanie Belcher-Vosges February 20, 2022 - 11:41 am

I am from sunny Gauteng, South Africa and Gardening has been my profession for nearly 30 years however my main manor farm house garden resulted in a potted bird cage Rose garden to keep African Game at bay

Ann klitgaard February 20, 2022 - 12:34 pm


Susanne Sanner February 20, 2022 - 12:39 pm

Hello there Sharon,
I live in Bavaria, Southern Germany. Aside from a little bit of snow and some heavy windy storms recently, the winter season is slowly coming to an end.
I have seen the first crocuses and snowdrops starting to push their way up from their sleepy winter abode.

Soon, I will start my repotting activities for my house plants and my courtyard garden.

Have a good sunday!

Tina February 20, 2022 - 1:03 pm

My garden here is in Cornwall, South West England Snowdrops are plentiful and crocuses too. Daffodills are poking their way through. I have camellias in full bloom and hellebores. It has been mild with lots of rain but we still have our agapanthus, hydrangeas, lupins, and delphiniums fleeced until we are clear of ground frost which hit us bad last year. Starting to prepare seeds for our vegetable garden too. I love your blogs is is so lovely to see what is happening globally and in beautiful France. Tina

Tina February 20, 2022 - 1:05 pm

My garden here is in Cornwall, South West England Snowdrops are plentiful and crocuses too. Daffodills are poking their way through. I have camellias in full bloom and hellebores. It has been mild with lots of rain but we still have our agapanthus, hydrangeas, lupins, and delphiniums fleeced until we are clear of ground frost which hit us bad last year. Starting to prepare seeds for our vegetable garden too. I love your blogs it is so lovely to see what is happening globally and in beautiful France. Tina

Elizabeth February 20, 2022 - 4:17 pm

Hello Sharon,I live on theIsle of Wight,everything is tied down because of the storm and wind,evan the largest pots have blown over,my two bantams have found refuge on the bench in the kitchen whilst we sit this out.The snowdrops are in full flower and still standing,so are the hellebores and the evergreen magnolia has one large white flower in sheer defiance.

Frédérique February 20, 2022 - 5:22 pm

Bonjour Sharon, mon jardin est en France, à Ornans, partie du peintre Gustave Courbet : les cerisiers du Japon commencent à bourgeonner, les jonquilles et les tulipes sortent lentement de terre…il faut être encore patient avant l’explosion de fleurs…bon dimanche

Judy February 20, 2022 - 5:39 pm

I always look forward to your posts of your early spring garden. Even though mine is under 8 inches of snow. It gives me hope that here in Michigan U S, spring will again arrive. For us, it just takes a bit longer. This year it seems to be taking it’s good old time.

Jeannine February 20, 2022 - 5:45 pm

Hello Sharon, I live in southern Ontario Canada. The temperatures here are feeling like -15C. A few nights it dipped to -20C. Bitter cold with so much snow this year. I yearn for the spring to come. I love being in my gardens. I can’t wait to plant flowers. It looks like that will be a long time coming. I so enjoy seeing what your gardens look like during the year. Thank You!

robert February 20, 2022 - 5:55 pm

Your article is lovely and your sharing of your garden is a gift to all. We live in central North Carolina usa and have had winter weather. For three weekends in 2022, we have had snow. The temperature last night was -4C.
So winter continues but the daffodils are up and budding,,,,,, and the camellia buds are plump

Jae February 20, 2022 - 6:21 pm

Hi, I am in North Georgia in the US. We have had warm days of up to 70 F and nights as low as 25F so plants are confused. But daffodils are up and budding and earth feels warmer. Ready for spring!

franki February 20, 2022 - 6:26 pm

Bonjour! We are in Central Virginia & all our “Camellias” are in full bloom. ‘Snowdrops” are peeking & “Viburnam” is budded. Spring IS coming…franki

Patricia Harkness February 20, 2022 - 6:39 pm

Good Afternoon from the Piedmont of NC, where the weather has been very erratic this winter with 21F one night and 72F the next day with rain and lots of wind. Daffodils are showing their flowers and my hellebores are beautiful. My husband and I are busy cutting everything back, with only a few exceptions. The panicular hydrangeas are going back to about a foot this year as they have grown over 8 feet tall this past year, and I need more garden space for more plants…We will be bringing in mulch to topdress some areas, and anxiously wait for the sleeping plants to start to grow…sedum, daisies, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and phlox are already putting up new green growth! Have a great week.

Cindy February 20, 2022 - 7:00 pm

Here in Ohio, it is still cold with hints that spring may make an appearance in March. It’s been a cold and snowy winter, and I’m over it. Ready for some of what you are enjoying. But, warm weather too soon, leads to disappointments later, as our last frost can come as late as mid-May. Trying to be patient.

Francean Gospodarek February 20, 2022 - 7:50 pm

I am in Spring Hill, Tennessee south of Nashville. The spring bulbs are starting to peek through the soil and that is always so very exciting. We have had much precipitation and more is expected this coming week. Spring is my favorite season…full of hope and beauty.

Virginia Frazier February 20, 2022 - 8:29 pm

Hello from Massachusetts, USA. Yes, it is very cold here in Beverly, just 40 minutes southeast of Les Fleurs shop in Andover. With the recent rain we can finally see the grass that has been hidden under drifts of snow for the past few weeks. The forecast calls for more snow by the end of this week. I’ve been looking at plant and seed catalogues in anticipation of warmer months.

Karen February 20, 2022 - 8:42 pm

Here on the plains of Kansas, we are having a 60 degree day that is melting our ten inches of snow we received this week along with ice and sleet. Eventually I will get out and cut the Forsythia and bring stems in to force for a promise of spring. We are to receive another snow fall next Thursday……spring will come again! It always does to the plains of Kansas.

hedi February 20, 2022 - 8:54 pm

Here in the Piedmont of South Carolina, USDA Zone 7, my daffodils, pink Debutante Camelia japonica, and Christmas Hellebores were in bloom during Christmas. The Jan. 9th snow storm burnt the Debutante buds and held the daffodils in place. Now both are in full bloom. Some Japanese Magnolia are in full bloom. Tempertures here range from upper 60sF to lower 30sF. Cold winds have kept us hatted up or inside.

Andrea February 20, 2022 - 11:01 pm

Hello Sharon, I live in Reno, Nevada, USA on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We are having a very dry, cold winter. My garden is still mostly asleep. My daffodils, tulips and crocuses are barely above ground and no blossoms yet. I am so looking forward to spring. I love your newsletter and blog!

Irene Peterson February 20, 2022 - 11:30 pm

Hello Sharon.
I am living in Georgia in a 62+ community with a garden that allows me three raised plots. The daffodils and tulips are about 3″ tall now and I am so excited to cut and bring them inside for my enjoyment. Miss my house and garden but doing the best I can with limited access to gardening.

Elizabeth Fox February 20, 2022 - 11:56 pm

Here is Connecticut, we are on the edge of our seats waiting for Spring. Yesterday brought a snow squall and dusted a cover of white. We expect more snow. I am starting to plant seeds in milk jugs (mini- cold frames) tomorrow. Allnof my houseplants are blooming, so it is lovely inside.

Marilyn February 21, 2022 - 12:03 am

I am in Oregon, USA and we have daffodils, crocus, snowdrops, hellebore, camellias, and a sneak peek at flowering plum. Plus witch hazel.

Therese February 21, 2022 - 12:44 am

Hello Sharon: I am a new subscriber to your print magazine and can I tell you that when it arrives in my mailbox, I am filled with joy. It is a true escape during this time of confinement. What specifically rings true are the words that “reading transports you to places when you have to stay where you are.” How so very true. Thank you for this beautiful publication. It’s been incredibly important to my mental health and I am ever so grateful.

Brenda Chambers February 21, 2022 - 2:22 am

Thank so much for this post. Brightened my day. I agree, spring can’t come fast enough. Here in Texas, we go from a spring like to a winter day seems like every other day.

Mary W Dever February 21, 2022 - 8:12 am

I’m inspired by the enthusiasm and stories of fellow jardinistas! I live near Seattle, Wa, USA and we are enjoying our fragrant daphne as well as a few winter blooming rhododenrons. The Sasanqua Camellias are beginning to open and the birds are feasting on our abundant red/orange cottoneaster berries. Nearer the ground we have primroses in all colors, tete-a-tete daffodils, grape hyacinth (which the bunnies consider their favorite) and regular hyacinths, and hellebores in several colors and sizes. Our trillium, Volcano, has green shoots about 6 inches high-it will have deep burgundy blooms in about a month and gets a lot of love from those visiting our garden. The daylilies have green shoots of 8-12 inch height and the frittilaria are just beginning too. The Renaissance begins!

pam m February 21, 2022 - 5:25 pm

Just as my thoughts were turning to warmer weather, here in Minnesota we are battening down the hatches for a week of snowstorms. Your articles on the garden and your reader’s comments increase my enthusiasm for spring. I always remember this quote, ‘no winter lasts forever and spring never skips its turn’. The promise of the change in seasons! Thanks for all you do! oxoxo

Pauline H. February 24, 2022 - 4:44 am

I live in Tasmania Australia and it’s a mild 25 degrees Celsius here. It won’t be long to wait now before Autumn arrives. Your garden is lovely any time of the year and I look forward to your Spring coming and the beautiful photos that you send.

Gudrun February 26, 2024 - 4:10 am

Hello from Pennsylvania! It’s so nice to hear from so many subscribers all over the world. We just had 12 inches of snow, but it is melting quickly as the temperature will rise to about 61 degrees Fahrenheit this week. The snowdrops have been smiling at me for several weeks and even a 12 inch snow cover did not deter them from blooming. Love those early signs of spring. As many have shared, my daffodils and tulips are also poking through the soil. All of this is happening several weeks earlier than in previous years and as someone else mentioned here, I am not so sure I am ready for spring either. March can be tricky in Pennsylvania. We could still have some heavy snowfalls not to mention ice. Nonetheless, one thing is for sure, spring is approaching. It always puts a smile on my face as does your magazine Sharon.

five nights at freddy's April 24, 2024 - 6:38 am

Determining whether or not I have developed a screen addiction, I am attempting to resume my reading habits. However, I never mind having a small game like that on hand. Supposedly, anything that slightly stimulates the mind can be beneficial. Certain individuals engage in habitual television viewing, starting from the moment they return home from work until they retire for the night. It has improved upon that.


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