April Gardening Tips 2022
April must be one of the most exciting months in the garden. There is plenty of colour from spring flowering bulbs and early flowering trees and shrubs, and yet there is still the promise of so much more to come. Alpines are looking particularly attractive right now. Look out for pretty saxifrage (London Pride), aubretia, dianthus, lithodora and so many more.
There is still time to buy and plant summer flowering bulbs. Try some scented lilies, gorgeous gladioli, dancing dahlias, exotic looking agapanthus, retro begonias and a host of other corms, tubers and rhizomes to give you wonderful colour later in the summer, and perhaps even some flowers to cut for the house. They are so easy to pop in the ground and great for filling gaps in the border.
You can plant all sorts of shrubs, trees, roses, climbers and perennial, or cottage garden plants now. As with most things in life, the better the preparation the better the results. Dig a good-sized hole to accommodate your plant. Add some fertilizer and compost to the bottom of the planting hole. Place your plant in the hole. Back fill with some more compost and garden soil, firm lightly and water in well. It is important to keep newly planted subjects well-watered throughout the first growing season, and beyond if the weather is dry.
This is also the time to tie in in the new shoots of roses and clematis while they are still soft and bendy enough to do so. This will promote an even spread of foliage and flowers. Otherwise, you can end up with a mass of intertwined stems. Beware, the new shoots are quite fragile and liable to break.
The earliest of spring flowers may have started to fade. Prune ribes, forsythia and chaenomeles (Japanese Quince) one they have finished flowering. Dead head faded daffodils, but do not cut the foliage back just yet because the bulbs need this to photosynthesise to feed the bulb beneath the soil and promote great flowers again next year. Applying a general fertiliser around the clumps will also benefit the plants for next year.
For a little bending and stretching exercise take time to tidy up the lawn and borders, removing any twigs and leaves that have gathered there. Mulch the borders with home- made compost, well -rotted manure or bark to help with weed control and water retention. It is amazing how much better the borders will look for it immediately and your plants will thank you for it in the long run too.
Having cleared your lawn of larger debris a good rake will ‘scarify’ the lawn and remove dead grass, smaller twigs and general detritus. Where the lawn has become compacted aerate with a hollow tine fork or aerator. This will allow air and water to penetrate to the roots. You can also apply a lawn fertiliser to give the grass a real boost and help it withstand all the use it will get over the summer. This is also an ideal month to sow a new lawn or to re-seed areas that have become worn.
There is still time to plant potatoes. Remember to earth them up as soon as the shoots emerge. This helps the tubers to form deep enough that they don’t turn green.
The secret to productive vegetable growing is to sow (or plant young plants) in succession for the longest possible cropping season. This is certainly the best policy with beans, salad crops and peas. If you have never eaten your own home grown broad beans, picked while still nice and small, then you have missed out on a real treat. I like mine lightly boiled and served with plenty of butter and a little mint. Sow tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse or on a windowsill.
Visit our gardening advice pages for more information. I hope you have a wonderful April.