This month sees the daffodils and ornamental cherries beginning to bloom meaning spring is finally here. This month is associate with the start of the growing season… so you can turn your attention to mowing and seed sowing…
Put supports in place for perennials before they grow too large; choose either half-moon, plant rings or conical supports for plants such as peony, delphinium, hollyhock and foxglove.
Hoe borders to loosen the soil, preventing annual and perennial weeds from spreading and seeding themselves.
Top up pots and containers with fresh compost, remove old compost to the depth of 2inches (5cm) and replace with fresh, giving valuable nutrients back to the plant, be careful not to disturb bulbs or shallow roots.
In mild spells aphids can multiply rapidly, so remove infestations before getting out of hand.
Give your roses a preventative spray with a fungicide to keep diseases such as black spot at bay. You may wish to choose a non-chemical type made from plant extracts, which can be far kinder for the environment.
Use a stiff bristled brush to remove algae from decking and patios, a surface cleaner such as patio magic will make your job easier and stop the algae from reoccurring.
If you didn’t have a chance last month then make sure you give your shed, playhouse and fence’s a fresh coat of paint or preservative.
Pruning and Planting
Sow hardy annual flowers, herbs and vegetable seeds taking specific instructions from each packet, most will need sowing around now, many needing a little extra heat to germinate and get them growing.
Why not plant varieties of delphiniums, lupins and poppies in successive sowings giving you cut flowers throughout the summer months.
Check your seedlings every couple of days, water when necessary and prick out once they have their second set of leaves and before they become too leggy. If we get a cold spell remember to give them that extra protection, maintain a minimum temperature of 5degrees Celsius.
This is really the last call for moving and transplanting any existing shrubs or trees within your garden, if they are not moved now it is best to wait until the autumn. Any that are replanted will need to be firmed in, supported, fed and watered sufficiently.
Prune back and tidy slightly tender plants such as penstemon, lavender and hebe to a decent fresh shoot this will keep them in shape and stop them going woody.
April is the best time to apply a feed, weed and moss killer to your lawn this will help strengthen the grass, removing weeds and burning out the moss which will enable you to rake it out.
Sow new lawns or repair bare patches from the middle of the month, prepare the ground by cultivating, levelling and lightly firming before sowing.
Do not walk on freshly sown grass until the growth is around 3inches (7cm) you can then cut on a high blade.
Fruit and Vegetables
Early crop seed potatoes should be planted by early April and main crop varieties will need to be done around the middle of April.
Plant shallots, onion sets and garlic in open ground and continue sowing carrots, parsnips, leeks, lettuces and spinach.
If purchasing vegetable plug plants be aware they may need hardening off.
Protect fruit blossom from late frosts.
Birds and Wildlife
Continue to feed the garden birds but make sure you are feeding the correct food, suet and peanuts should be left off the menu now until the autumn, instead use mealworm, sunflower hearts, nyger seed and no mess seed mixes as they are all safer for fledgling birds.
Hedgehogs are great at keeping the slugs and snails population down, encourage them into your garden by putting down specialist feeds, like crumble or pellets, they also love dried mealworms.
Plants of the Month
Erysimum- (Perennial wallflowers). A woody evergreen perennial or biennial which is ideal for sunny borders, raised beds or rockeries. Flower colours range from orange to yellow and purple to pink and last throughout the spring and into summer. Heights vary from 12inches to 24inches depending on variety.
Scabious – Hardy perennial that is extremely popular to bees, they have attractive flowers in either pink or lavender purple, these are suitable for orders and containers.
April is the perfect time to rejuvenate your rockery, top dressing around the plants will both lift the appearance and avoid the stem rotting.
If you are not able have your own vegetable plot in your garden, don’t let this deter you from growing your own vegetables. You could always use a hanging basket or container on your patio. Why not try growing tumbling tomatoes, or even some herbs in a hanging basket and hang just out side your back door. Salads like cut and come again lettuce are good in troughs or a pot and there are many uses for a large deep gro-bag. Why not have a go!