April in the garden
April is the busiest time in the garden, but don’t panic, take things one step at a time and you’ll get it all done
Keep on top of the tiny annual weeds emerging with a hoe. Only hoe on dry days, this way any weeds that you hoe will die off and wilt quickly. Run the blade back and forth over the soil to break it up and cut down any of the newly sprouting weeds. You can save so much back breaking work later on, if you do this every other day for a few minutes.
Keep your garden as pest free as you can and encourage wildlife
Snails and slugs love the warmer and wet weather, and before you know it you will be overrun. Use biological slug control (Nemaslug) on your slugs and this should really help.
Hedgehogs, frogs, toads and thrushes prey on these pests, so make sure you encourage these creatures in the garden. If you lay a flat stone on the ground, you will soon be able to see whether the thrushes have been using it as a place to smash snail shells.
Don’t forget to leave water dishes and bird baths for the bees and the birds. They all need lots of water.
If you have received your dahlia tubers, now is the time to get them potted up. Follow our instructions carefully and you will have wonderful flowers to cut all through the summer months.
Train your Roses
To keep your roses growing healthily and for the best flowers this summer, make sure that your climbing roses are well tied down. Bend over any upright stems to encourage more flowers, you will normally only get flowers at the top of an upright, but if you bend them you will get more flowers along the stem. Tie them in so they are lying horizontally. This will also create a thicker screen, if you are using the rose as cover, or to beautify a not-so-pretty, wall or fence.
Caring for Lavenders
Lavender plants need cutting back now to prevent them from looking sparse. Give the plant a short back and sides with secateurs to snip off old flower stems and shoot tips. Don’t prune hard into old wood, as this will prevent new growth. While you are pruning, shape the plants into domes and remove any leggy or unwanted stems. Give the plants a weekly liquid feed during the summer, to encourage growth.
Grow Your Own Flowers
Hardy annual seeds can be direct sown outside now, try some marigolds, poppies, dill and cerinthe - any early sown seedlings that you’ve been nurturing indoors can go outside now too.
Grow Your Own Veg and Salad
Try direct sowing some new salad leaves, carrots, peas, beetroot, spinach and chard.
Sow some quick growing half-hardy annuals like pumpkins, squash, sweetcorn, basil and French beans.
If you want to get going with some salad, sow now undercover or in gutters in your greenhouse or conservatory, Corn Salad, Rainbow chard, Mizuna, Rocket, Winter Purslane and Mustard and plenty of Lettuces.
Plant Maincrop Potatoes.
Direct sow Chervil, Chives and Coriander or sow Dill, Fennel and French Sorrel under cover.
Harvesting Flowers – Lovely things to pick and arrange from your garden in April
- Bulbs: Narcissi, fritillaries, hyacinths and tulips
- Hardy annuals: Euphorbia oblongata and 1st autumn-sown marigolds
- Perennials: Euphorbias, polyanthus, hellebores and 1st Solomon seal and lily of the valley