Helpful advice for your April Garden

This April garden is really a March garden with the lights on. The position of the sun at this time of the year whether overcast or clear will stimulate and wake our dormant plants to cope with temperatures more akin to February than April

Normally this month can get us into a tiz with too much to do in a short time. Well this year is different; if we obey the weather we can do our seasonal jobs at a much more leisurely pace.

Lawns – the grass is starting to prick its bladed leaves into our cold gardens and growth is slow so a high set at 21/2 inches for lawn mowing in the second week of April would not be too late followed by a fork aeration to get some air into compacted lawns then top dress with sharp sand, seed and compost. Because this season is so late don’t weed and feed until May.

Roses – if you haven’t pruned yet it’s not too late, cut out dead and crowded wood, mulch and spray against aphids, blackspot and mildew (when it’s NOT raining)

Shrubs – cut back Forsythia Suspensa, Garrya Elliptica to shape. I hope you left the dead heads of Hydrangeas on as a frost protection. Mid month should be safe to prune back to new buds. Cut back Lavender but not into old wood. Cut back Mahonia to your convenience.

Mixed borders and perennial areas – pick off dead flowers from early bulb flowering, leave the foliage to sustain the bulb for next year’s flowering. Summer flowering bulbs such as Dahlias and lilies should be planted out. Hoe lightly and frequently to remove germinating weeds. Don’t be tempted to buy summer bedding yet as frost is still very possible.

Seeds – indoor or undercover – it’s time to sow French beans, courgettes, cucumber, parsley, peppers, tomatoes

Outdoors – beetroot, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chives, garlic, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish, rocket, spinach and swiss chard

Trees – it’s a good time to tame and prune bamboo cane to reduce volume and harvest to use as pea sticks or supports for perennials. Figs should be pruned now. Feed plums and cherries as they are a hungry family with a high potassium feed and manure and mulch. Garden centres are full of bare rooted fruit trees, espaliered and dwarf varieties are suitable for smaller gardens.

Pond – make sure bamboos are not encroaching on your pond as the shoots are quite capable of puncturing your pond liner. Contain the lateral roots to head off encroaching bamboo shoots. This is the time to clean out ponds, service pumps, clean filters, divide water lilies and check your fish. This is a wet claggy spring with low light levels so be patient and work within the weather possibilities. Check the weather not the gardening calendar.

Good Gardening from Pete at All Gardens

0117 942 1685   [email protected]

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