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Gardening Advice and Helpful Tips

Your Garden in April...

Will Clark

Plant Area Manager

As the days are finally getting longer and warmer, it’s time to spring into action in the garden. Will Clark shares his top 10 essential jobs for April.

Watch our collection of videos featuring Will and his team.

Full bloom
It’s a real joy to see all the spring bulbs in full bloom right now. In April, flowering trees like cherry blossom, redbud and magnolias are looking really good and foliage shrubs like Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ start to burst into life. It’s one of the best times in the garden to see all this colour and life emerge.

Small spaces
Even if you’ve only got a tiny garden or patio, there is so much you can do. A couple of well-placed planters will really invigorate your space. Think about choosing a statement pot with a complimentary plant and pot topper.

Patio planting
Another clever idea is to lift a few random paving slabs from your patio and plant some low growing alpines to add some greenery and interest.

Vertical thinking
If your garden is small, try planting upwards. A trellis is a good option to bring a space alive or try hanging baskets onto your fence for a wall of colour.

Combination planting
Putting a little more thought into your plant pairings is well worth the effort. Perfect for spring is the stunning deep burgundy Anemone Bordeaux which pairs beautifully with Scabiosa Butterfly Blue and Fatsia japonica Spiders Web.

Sweet success
Most garden centres will be selling strawberry plants in pots right now. Put them into a container or trough and space about 25-30cm apart. As they start to flower, feed with a high potash feed. It’s easier than you think. Plant, keep watering and you’ll be picking strawberries this summer!

Lawn love
It’s a good time of year for your spring lawn feed because the grass is actively growing and the soil is moist. Use Miracle-Gro Complete 4 in 1 to feed, weed and get rid of moss. Keep blades high when mowing and cut frequently for a really luxe green lawn.

Spring feed
Get ahead of the game by feeding shrubs, trees and flowers with Vitax Q4 slow release feed.

You can also use as a liquid feed which is better for containers.

Bee happy
Encourage pollinating insects into your garden by giving them a head start in spring. Grape hyacinths with their bobbly flowers provide cones of nectar for foraging bees. Crocus also offer an early pollen boost to bees and beetles.

Cover up
Earth up early potatoes planted in March, drawing soil over the green shoots to increases the length of the underground stems bearing potatoes. Remember to keep an eye on the weather too and cover with fleece if temperatures drop which we know they can in April! Read more. 

Ruth McNamee

Greenhouse Senior

October on the Veg Plot...

October is a great month to get ahead in the veg patch, writes Ruth McNamee.

Choose a sunny sheltered spot to sow broad beans. The variety Aquadulce Claudia does well from autumn sowing. Sow a double row with seeds 20cm apart. These plants should germinate, stand over winter and quickly establish when the weather warms. The crop can be enjoyed a couple of weeks earlier than spring sown seeds.

You can start to plant out garlic this month 15cm apart in rows 30cm apart. This can be left to next month if preferred. And there is still time to plant out overwintering onions. Make a shallow drill and place the sets pointy end up 15cms apart in rows 30cms apart. Onions are ready to harvest early next summer. Try onion and garlic in big pots and keep in a sheltered spot for the best results.

October is a great month to get your permanent planting done. It’s a good time to establish your fruit and asparagus beds while the soil is still warm from the summer heat. Rhubarb and asparagus crowns will now be available in the garden centre. Prepare the beds by removing all weeds. These crops will be in these beds for many years so it helps to give them a good start.

May is the month where strawberries flower so mulch plants with straw.

Prune early flowering shrubs such as the Forsynthia and Weigela.

Direct sow basil next to tomato seedlings to help draw white fly away.

Veg seeds that can be sown outdoors include courgette, beetroot and sprouts.

Lift and divide your spring bulbs and plant where you want for next year.

Check all foliage for lily beetle and greenfly and dispose of any found.

Gardening Jobs for January

Buy seeds to be sown in January or February.

Buy seed potatoes, onion sets and garlic.

Appraise the garden for form and structure, and plan alterations and additions.

Plant window boxes and containers for seasonal colour.

Protect vulnerable plants from frost and wind damage.

Firm in any autumn-planted shrubs and border plants lifted by frost.

Knock snow off branches, especially on conifers and hedges, if they are bending under the weight.

Check stakes and ties on newly planted trees.

Remember the birds in the garden and put out food for them, especially when it’s frosty.