People always say February feels like a turning point in the garden. It’s still cold outside, but there are signs of spring’s imminent arrival everywhere you look. Bulbs are slowly emerging from the ground, and the days are getting longer at last.

Well, I’m certainly noticing the latter here at Driftwood. There is almost daylight when I get up now and you can really feel the sunset getting later. At least the weather this week has been a little warmer than of late.

Generally, this month’s garden jobs are mostly about getting things ready for the spring. But there are also some early sowing and growing tasks to do if you want to get a head start. I’ve started to cut back the old foliage from all of ornamental grasses this week, it’s important to complete the task before the new growth begins, otherwise you end up cutting off the new shoots.

Clip them to within a few centimetres of the ground and the new growth will come through in the coming weeks.

Regular readers will be well aware of my love of succulents. One that is blazing a trail for spring this week is one of my several jade plants. They are common houseplants that even the most novice gardeners can grow successfully.

I have some in the house but also some in larger containers which go in the garden in the summer and the heated greenhouse for the winter. Many ask will the plants bloom? Well, my largest specimen is doing just that in the greenhouse now.

The experts say getting one to flower requires mimicking its native growing conditions. Lack of water, cool nights and bright days which encourage the plant to form buds and finally flowers. It’s a bit of a trick, but you can fool your plant into producing pretty little starry white to pink flowers in spring. Jade plants can grow for many years without blooming. Even in their native habitat, they need to be very mature before they form flowers. I was given the one that s flowering a few years ago, so am unaware of how old it actually is.

Among the many jade plant flowering requirements is an arid ambient environment. Interior conditions are often too humid for the plant to form buds. I reckon in my case there is a great deal of luck involved too. In summer, I move the plant outdoors gradually to an area with some protection from searing sun rays, but where it is bright for most of the day. Well worth acquiring one if you want an easy plant to look after.

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