Your garden in April
Late March gave us some
lovely sunny days which enticed many of us back into our gardens. And now the
clocks have gone forward, we can enjoy longer days and more time to spend
outdoors in the evenings.
April is a lovely month in the garden, with spring bulbs everywhere and the blossom starting to appear on the trees. It’s also a very busy time with so much to be getting on with. All your veggie beds need to be prepared ready for planting, whether with seeds, seedlings or starter plants. Hardy annuals, perennials and vegetable seeds can all be planted now depending on the variety. Do remember that if buying vegetable starter plants, many will require extra protection until the risk of frost has passed.
The recent warm weather has brought all the beneficial insects out and back into the garden. It’s always a good idea to encourage these garden friends as they provide a natural control to other less beneficial creatures or pests as we like to call them. You can attract bees, butterflies, lacewings and ladybirds to your garden by planting certain plants which attract them. We have displays dedicated to such plants in our plant area, plus lots of advice if you need it, so please just ask.
If you love the way that Dahlias bring a late summer border to life, now is the time to start them off. To get an earlier display, bought tubers can be placed in seed trays with enough compost to supply moisture to the roots. This will allow them to throw up shoots giving them a head start before planting out when the risk of frost has passed. Alternatively when shoots reach a few inches long they are ideal for taking cuttings and this can be a great way to bring masses of colour to your garden for minimum cost. Another firm family favourite to be planting round about now are lilies, with new, more exotic varieties appearing every year. Many of the today’s lilies have an amazing scent and are wonderful planted in pots or containers by the front door.
By now your lawn should be well and truly growing and you will be able to assess its condition. If it’s looking a bit ropey, there are steps you can take but first it’s important to know what the problem is. In this part of the country, the most common problems are moss and other weeds. The application of a combined weed/moss killer and feed will help. If you do have a very mossy lawn and choose to treat it, be aware that things will look worse before they get better. A week or so after application, moss will die and turn black, looking awful.The next step is to rake out the dead moss and thatch (dead grass and other material). This is known as scarification and can be done either with a machine or spring back rake (be warned, it’s fairly tiring work especially if you have a large lawn).
If, after you’ve raked, you find the lawn looks bare, you can overseed it. For best results, you should top dress first, which involves brushing a mix of sand, top soil and compost over the lawn.
Our Plant of the Month for April is the Dwarf Rhododendron. Like the full-size version, these compact plants come in a variety of colours and are invaluable for their bright blooms in late spring. If you're planting them in your border, please remember they need an acid soil. If you don't have the right soil, plant them in ericaceous compost in containers and use them to brighten up your patio or garden.
Happy gardening, Will
Click here for list of jobs to do this month