AprilThe garden is really springing into action now and our spirits are lifted by the sight and scent of all the flowers and shrubs enjoying the warmer temperatures and longer day length.
- Weeding and planting are the key jobs this month if there are gaps to fill or new borders to plan then the availability of plants to do the job is good.
- We can have quite dry periods at this time of the year so be aware that any new plants will need regular drinks until they are established, a good, thorough soaking once a week is always better than a light sprinkle more regularly.
- This is an excellent time to put in plant supports for anything with a tendency to flop, before they start to grow away and it becomes more of a damage limitation exercise.
- Dead head Daffodils and if you give them a top dressing of blood, fish and bone (always wear gloves for this) or “Growmore” then you will give the flowering potential for next spring a real boost.
- Cut back Penstemon, Gaura and the woody Salvias like “Hot lips” now that the risk of harsh frosts have passed, take of a half to a third depending on how tall the plant is, and how tall you want it to be.
- Prune back hardy Fuchsia, take out any dead stems to the ground and shorten any long rangy growth by up to two-thirds. New growth will come from the ground.
- Caryopteris and Perovskia (Russian Sage) can be cut back now treat both the same and cut back hard close to the base.
- You can safely prune off any frost damaged stems from plants such as Choisya, Pieris, and Pittosporum. Cistus can also be included in this list, take care not to cut back any green growth as this will cut of any awaiting flowers.
- Give lavender and Santolina a good haircut now, this is very important if you want to prevent them becoming woody and leggy, Take a sharp pair of secateurs and cut back into leafy growth as low as you dare without going in to dead wood, this will instigate growth lower down the plant keeping it busy and productive for another year.
- Established plants that have finished flowering such as Forsythia and the flowering Quince “Chaenomeles” can be pruned now.
- Mowing starts in earnest now keep the blades high for the first cut to avoid scalping. You will probably find it is now a weekly job, it is worth remembering that grass is just like any plant and will produce seed, if you don’t want it setting up home in the flower beds then regular mowing is the key.
- Lawn feeds can be applied and you can continue with any renovation of bare patches or dips this month, as mentioned in March’s despatch.
- The sowing of new lawns can be done this month. Conditions are optimum, choose a mix of seed suitable for your situation and use requirements. There are mixes for particular situations including shade.
- Keep the soil around fruit bushes and canes weed and grass free to avoid the competition this can cause to the detriment of fruit production.
- Start “earthing up” your potatoes as soon as growth starts to appear to protect it from potential frost, even a light one can cause damage, pile the soil up over the new shoots.
- Maincrop potatoes can go in now.
- Sowing of vegetables such as Lettuce, Broad beans and peas can be made directly into the ground now.
- Cells of young vegetable plants will start to be available to buy now.
Click on one of the other months below to see what you can look forward to