Happy Easter – Gardening jobs for April

AFTER a winter that seems to have gone on forever, finally spring has well and truly arrived. Just like a switch being turned on, all of a sudden our dormant, dull, and black and white gardens have turned into a glorious technicolour as plants burst into new life. The spring bulbs are looking amazing this year, like colourful jewels shining out of our gardens in the spring sunshine. The daffodils and hyacinths are still looking fabulous just as the tulips are starting to appear. In the hedgerows the leaves are beginning to break on the hawthorns and willows, herbaceous perennials are starting to push through in the borders and the grass is starting to shake off its depressing winter yellow colour. This is a wonderful, invigorating time of year for a gardener and now that the clocks have changed we also get an extra hour in the garden! Lots to do this month;

Photo by Anastasia Ilina-Makarova on Pexels.com
  1. Good time for planting, especially evergreen trees and shrubs now that the soil is starting to warm up. It’s a good time to plant other flowering plants such as roses, climbers and herbaceous perennials.
  2. If you haven’t pruned your roses by now, make sure you finish this month. It’s also a good idea to feed them with a granular rose fertiliser.
  3. Spring pruning. Hard prune the forsythia after flowering. Good time to prune your buddleia back and finally cut the old heads off your hydrangeas if you haven’t already done so.
  4. Start hoeing to keep weeds down between your plants. Take care not to cut the tops off hostas, lilies and other plants that have tender shoots.
  5. Keep a look out for pests, especially slugs and snails if the weather turns wet and take speedy action. Pick off as many as you can, look out for them either first thing in the morning or just as it’s getting dark. We’ve also found that an organic mulch called ‘Strulch’ works particularly well as a slug and snail deterrent. Keep an eye out for the dreaded lily beetle as the lilies start to push through. We are hoping that the cold weather has reduced their numbers.
  6. Continue sowing selected vegetables outside such as carrots, radishes, beetroot, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and lettuce. Brussels and cabbages do better if they are sown in a seed bed first then transplanted into their final positions in May / June.
  7. Plant second early potatoes (such as Maris Peer, International Kidney & Charlotte) from early to mid April (ready July/August) and main crop towards the end of the month (ready September/October). First early potatoes are usually planted late March but it doesn’t matter if they run into April
  8. Sow pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes inside with protection. When it has warmed up in May and frost risk has gone then they can be planted outside.
  9. Don’t be tempted to fill in the gaps in your borders just yet; some plants are still coming through.
  10. Start your spring lawn treatments to keep them in tiptop condition. Continue to aerate, scarify, feed and weed. There are a number of all-in-one weed and feed granules available at your local DIY store or garden centre and it is worth using them.
  11. It is also a good time to start turfing or seeding new lawns.
  12. If you have winter bedding such as pansies continue to deadhead them to extend their flowering season, and keep containers and hanging baskets well watered. They should start to look their best from this month onwards.
  13. Take basal root cuttings from things like delphiniums, dahlias, phlox and chrysanthemums. These are created from the little tiny shoots coming from the base of last years old stems. Try to remove from as near as possible to the main root and before they are 2 or 3 inches tall and root in nice sandy, gritty compost.
  14. Take soft wood cuttings from fuchsias and geraniums.
  15. Hoe in slow release fertiliser between your plants to get them going.
  16. If you want dramatic leaves on some shrubs and are happy not to get the flowers you can cut back hard on Catalpas, Acer negundo and Pawlonias. It’s a process called stooling.
  17. Carefully remove dead and damaged fronds from ferns. Take care not to damage the new, unfurling fronds in the crown of the plant as they are very brittle.
  18. Be patient with perennials that may look as though they have been killed by the frost such as salvias and verbenas. There is a good chance that they may re-shoot from below ground level.
  19. Start watering your house plants regularly. Pop them in the bath and give them a blast with the shower head to get rid of dust and cobwebs. You will find that this will invigorate them and help them to photosynthesise properly.
  20. It’s a good time to start planting summer flowering bulbs such as gladiolis, fresias, ixias, sparaxis and lilies. Also great time for planting begonia corms, remember rounded side down.

All jobs to think about when it finally stops raining. Happy Easter and happy gardening folks.

Best wishes

Jon and Adam

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