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Monday, 3 April 2017

This Month in your Garden - April

“When well-apparelled April on the heel Of limping Winter treads.”

William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

A sudden burst of warmth brought colour to March and winter does seem to have limped away, though Shakespeare had other meanings in mind when he wrote the line. First came the daffodils, and now the tulips, and April’s garden looks bright. Many years ago we planted a Japanese cherry: Prunis incisa, Kojo-no-mai which is a compact shrub and a delightful early herald of spring. Leave it to grow and it will reach about five feet in height, bringing the first real colour to the garden with white blossom turning to pink by the time April arrives.

As the daffodils go over, dead head or remove the stems to stop seed heads forming but leave the leaves to die back gradually, returning energy to the bulb. You don’t want to tie the leaves but you can lay them flat as other flowers come through to cover and hide what remains. You can plant bedding to do the same job. Cut off the old growth on the daffodils after about six weeks when the leaves turn brown.As fast as new flowers appear in the garden, so the weeds return so be prepared with your handy hoe.

Pruning evergreen shrubs, topiary, hardy fuschia, dogwood (cornus) and willow (salix) and trimming hedges is relaxing and rewarding. Roses will benefit from a dressing of compound fertiliser and if you have grown and hardened off pansies and violas, along with sweet peas, they can be planted out, as well as hardy herbaceous perennials.

  • Prune Buddleia, Hydrangea, Leycesteria
  • Watch for frost and protect tender plants like Azaleas from cold winds
  • Sow hardy annual seed for summer border colour
  • Plant Alpines
  • Propagate hardy perennials
  • Mow the lawn more frequently
  • Weed and mulch borders
  • Watch out for pests, slugs, snails and greenfly and deal with them organically

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