Oh to be in England now that April’s here…
It is a lovely time of year to be in the garden; lots of new growth, bright new leaves and lots more flowers.
Grass cutting is already underway. As long as no hard frosts are forecast the ground has warmed enough to allow repairs with turf or seed or for new lawns to be laid. The grass is now growing enough to apply a Spring feed and weed treatment. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter to avoid burning your lawn. Most lawns are full of moss after the winter. A good rake with a scarifier or spring-tine rake will help get some of it out and if done after the lawn has been treated it will remove the weeds and moss killed by the lawn weedkiller.
Herbaceous perennials are coming up so watch out for slugs and snails. It is amazing how much damage they can cause in a very short period of time. This is a good opportunity to put supports in place for tall plants to grow up through.
For plants that have outgrown their space, or lost their centre, this is a great time to lift and divide them. This helps to reinvigorate the plant and also provides new plants to use elsewhere around the garden.
As daffodils finish flowering deadhead to encourage them to put their energy into creating next year’s flower and not seeds. Leave the foliage for 6 weeks after which time it can be cut down. Don’t be tempted to tie the leaves during the 6 weeks. It damages them so they can’t produce food to store in the bulb for next Spring.
The weeds are gaining pace and need keeping in check. Remember not to put perennial weeds on your compost heap or you end up spreading the problem round your garden. Most councils collect garden rubbish; put them in there. The councils are able to heat their compost to a much higher temperature than you can get in a heap at home and so kill the weeds.
Tomatoes need sowing inside by the middle of the month. Any later and any fruit is unlikely to have a long enough summer in which to ripen. Courgettes can now be sown inside as well.
Garden centres may begin stocking bedding plants but only buy them if you have somewhere frost-free to store them.
Keep an eye on greenhouse plants for pests. Greenfly are proving a problem in my lean-to especially on a couple of small patio roses. I have regular “squishing” sessions!
The weather is warming up and there may be some really warm days. Combined with windy days plants dry out quickly and those in pots are especially vulnerable so remember to water regularly. Plants in pots will also benefit from a feed as they get into gear for the Summer ahead. Top dressing permanently planted pots that are too large to repot should be done now. This is replacing the top inch or two of soil with fresh or just putting some new on top where the soil level has dropped over the year.
As climbing plants begin growing tie-in regularly. It is easier to do when the growth is young and springy and protects them from being broken if windy.
Garden centres and nurseries are full of tempting bedding plants but resist if you have nowhere to keep them under cover. They will not survive any frost so wait until the nights have warmed up.
Hedge cutting will now have to wait as most birds are now nesting. I have a blackbird nest at the end of my garden and can see Mr Blackbird flying in and out with food whilst sitting at my desk so I think they must have eggs in the nest.
Winter flowering heathers can be trimmed over with a pair of shears now they have finished. Take off to just below the dead flowers. It will help to keep your plants bushy.
Weeds! They will be coming back with a vengeance so keep on top of them before they take over. Remember not to put perennial weeds on your compost heap or you end up spreading the problem round the garden. Most councils collect garden rubbish so put them in your garden wheelie bin. The councils are able to heat their compost to a much higher temperature than you can get in a heap at home and so kill the weeds.
Lastly, dust of the patio chairs and hope for some warm sunny days to sit out and enjoy your garden.