April Gardening Tips

I had hoped, when I wrote my column last month, that we had seen the last of the snow. Alas that was not to be and our teams have been routinely swathing any slightly tender plants in horticultural fleece to protect them from the icy chill. However the good weather will come and when it does there is so much to be cracking on with in the garden. I cannot wait to get out there more often and enjoy the scent of spring, the ever more joyful birdsong and the increasing warmth of the sun – fingers crossed!

April really is the time to take a good look at your lawn. Mow as required staring with the blades set quite high and gradually reducing the height as the spring goes on.

New lawns can be planted from seed or turf laid. Apply a lawn seed or lawn feed, weed and moss killer to get the best from your lawn over the coming months. It really does make a difference.

It is also time to get planting, surely the most exciting gardening activity because it holds so much promise. Plant new trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and rock plants. Plant Dahlia tubers and Gladioli.

Sow seeds for summer bedding in the greenhouse or conservatory and prick out sowings made in March. Sow annual seeds in the open soil. Do not sow too thickly and water as required. Sow Tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill. Sow Leeks, Broad Beans, Beetroot, Lettuce, Parsnips, Peas, Mange Tout and Spinach outdoors under cloches. Grow Basil from seed in a warm greenhouse or on a windowsill. Plant out onion sets, leaving enough space for hoeing out weeds. Plant potatoes.

Plants for free are always a good idea. Early April is the ideal time to divide perennials that have become woody or died back at the centre. These can be split and replanted thus increasing your stock.  Dig over the area and fertilise before replanting. Water in well and mulch.

Train Clematis, tying in the shoots to spread the growing shoots over the wall or fence for a better display of flowers. Beware as new shoots are easy to break.

Dead head bulbs but do not cut down the foliage as the bulbs need this to produce food for the bulb beneath the soil so that it flowers well next year.  It is a good idea to feed the bulbs now.

Apply a general plant food around fruit bushes, trees and Strawberry plants.

If frost is forecast use horticultural fleece to protect the blossom of flowering fruit trees.

Wishing you a very happy Easter and a lovely spring