It’s good that we have more time to spend outside because there is certainly plenty to do in the April garden. There’s plenty to enjoy, too, with spring bulbs on display, Magnolias in flower, blossom on many of the trees and signs of new growth everywhere you look.
Weeds are growing too, of course, so remove as many as you can now, whilst you can reach them. Divide finished primroses, deadhead daffodils and remove any old remaining foliage from grasses as you go along. If you haven’t already placed supports on your taller perennials, make sure you do it this month before the plants grow too large. Nobody wants to be forcing lovely, developing peony flowers through a plant support!
Finish off by applying a 5cm layer of mulch around your perennials, using compost or well-rotted manure, and feed trees and hedges at the same time, lightly forking in a slow release fertiliser around the bases. Check tree ties, loosening any which are tight or cutting into the trunk, to give the trunk room to expand. Climbers, including climbing and rambling roses, honeysuckle and Clematis, are putting on growth so tie in new shoots to their supports.
If you’re looking to add something new, I’d like to recommend Photinia. These evergreen shrubs, with their glossy, red new growth are striking additions to a spring garden. Planted in a sunny position, many will produce delicate sprays of white flowers in April and May. Whilst ‘Red Robin’ is an old favourite, I really like Photinia ‘Carré Rouge’ which is a more intense red and has a more compact habit; it’s perfect for mixed borders in smaller gardens or as a specimen in beds or containers.
Now your lawn is growing again, you’ll be able to assess it for moss and other weeds, a common problem in this part of the country. If you think your lawn is suffering, apply a combined feed, weed and moss killer, following the instructions given. When you start mowing the grass, keep the mower blades quite high for the first few cuts; if you cut too close, your lawn may look yellow and bald. After two or three cuts with the blades higher, you can start to lower them for a perfectly mown lawn.