TIPS FOR THE GARDEN IN APRIL by Karen Aitkins.
Spring has well and truly sprung! The weather should start to feel a bit warmer, although we will still experience sharp frosts in the morning. April is also well known for its heavy showers. The saying “April showers bring forth May flowers” is not without foundation. Now we have an extra hour of daylight and the evenings are drawing out ready for a glorious summer.
Gardens should be awash with colour as all our efforts with bulb planting in autumn should be paying off now. Suddenly everything literally springs to life and the garden is transformed. Beautiful pink cherry blossom and crab apple trees transform streets and gardens across the country.
Scented plants are also popular in April such as Hyacinth and Lily of the Valley. These can be grown in pots and brought in at night to avoid frost. Tie back the remainder of the daffodils after snapping off the dead heads and allow to die back, this allows the nutrients to go back into the bulb.
Because the winter has been so mild many people have already been cutting their lawns for a month now. But April is the time when cutting becomes a weekly task. Make sure you include the edges. A good lawn always makes a garden. Always choose a good quality turf and it will serve you well if you take care of it. Treat for moss now with a moss killer but remember the cause of moss can be poor drainage so aerate the lawn with a fork before treating.
Vegetables such as spring onions, peas and broad beans and much more can be sown outside now. Hold out a little longer with more vulnerable seedlings and plants for the warmer weather. Pests are also on the move at this time of year so use a good environmental pest control and keep on top of any pests or diseases. Spay roses against blackspot. Slugs and snails will also make an appearance now, if you don’t want to use pellets remember the jam jar full of beer sunk into the ground. Encourage hedgehogs, frogs and thrushes into your garden as they like to snack on snails but a dead one killed by pellets passes on the poison to the animal, so beware.
Adding an organic fertilizer now will give plants the boost they need to grow. Carefully rake back the bark mulch and fluff up the ground beneath and add fertilizer according to manufactures instructions. Water in well if conditions are dry.
Prune back forsythias after flowering, cut back the flowered shoots to two or three buds from their base. Also this is the time to cut back lavender as it doesn’t flower on old wood you can be quite vigorous with pruning to allow for new growth.
It should be more enjoyable in our gardens now as the weather improves, less of a chore and good exercise. Always be aware to of backs when bending and perhaps invest in a kneeling stool to take the weight off. Having raised borders is also an idea for ease when planting and weeding. Please see our facebook page for more ideas.