The April Garden
As we are now in April, we are well and truly coming into Spring.
April is perhaps regarded by me and by many gardeners as being the most exciting month of the year. The garden suddenly begins to look green and vibrant being assisted by warmer days and lighter evenings.
You can begin to prune early flowering shrubs, such as Daphne and Pieris, and start dividing perennials. Regular weeding, hoeing, and deadheading will keep your garden in trim.
With quite dramatic April showers, which is usually interspersed with warm and cold snaps, means that frost protection may still be needed.
There are many things you can do in April:
- Provide protection for newly planted trees and shrubs in the cold snaps which are in exposed positions.
- Plant evergreen trees and shrubs such as: Azalea’s, Bay (Laurus nobilis), Ceanothus, Cotoneaster and Magnoliagrandiflora.
- Give grey-leaved shrubs a trim to keep them bushy, such as Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’ and Helichrysum italicum (Curry plant).
- Prune early flowering shrubs as well as those grown for large of colourful foliage, such as Rhododendron, Camellia’s and Forsythia’s, after flowering.
- Lay or sow turf for new lawns. For already established lawns feed and weed.
- Pot up or prick seedings before they get congested and grow leggy.
- Sow greenhouse crops such as Cucumber and tomatoes and continue sowing and planting vegetables outdoors.
- Deadhead any daffodils which are in your garden; flowerheads only.
- Spray your roses against black spot.
- Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs.
- Keep hoeing your beds to suppress weeds, but always dig tap rooted and perennial weeds right out.
- Sow annual climbers and grasses, such as Tropaeolum majus, Thunbergia alata, Anemanthele lessioniana and Briza maxima.
- Tie in the new shoots of climbers.
- Pot up or transplant self-sown seedlings.
- Divide perennials and stake tall growing ones.
It is your last chance to cut down any dead growth of perennials if you have not already. It is also your last chance to plant summer flowering bulbs and sow sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus).
Planning and looking ahead for your garden is excellent horticultural practice. Not only does it benefit the garden, but it also makes for ease of transitioning into the different months and seasons. I recommend preparing trenches for runner beans and plant up hanging baskets if you have space under cover (such as a greenhouse) to shelter them for a few more weeks. I would also look at servicing your mower as you are about to use the mower more often from around May.