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Monday, 2 April 2012

This Month in Your Garden - APRIL

It’s a busy month and possibly made even busier if poor weather in March delayed any jobs and there’s catching up to be done.

Between now and mid April is a good time to be sowing hardy annuals outdoors where they are to grow. Early in the month sow annual climbers and summer bedding can be bought as plug plants and grown on. 

Borders need weeding, cleaning up and planting started. Gladioli can be planted for succession, with a good mixture of colour for cut flowers. If you like alpines plant now and if space for a larger rockery is at a premium a small scree garden made with pea shingle, compost and coarse grit will get things started. Roses need feeding and mulching. Flowering shrubs can be pruned and grass seed can be sown if the ground is not sticky. 

Plan the climbers you want to grow. Plant evergreen shrubs but pay attention to north and east winds as the shrubs may need protection. Shrubs can be propagated by layering now. Mowing the lawn becomes more frequent so make sure your mower or garden tractor is ready for the work.
  • Sow hardy annuals, if not sown in March, outdoors when the temperature reaches about 7°C (45°F) or sow early in the month in the greenhouse for early flowers. 
  • Harden off bedding plants and half-hardy annuals in the greenhouse, moving them later in the month to frames 
  • Prune and repot flowering shrubs in the greenhouse 
  • Prick out seedlings and pot on any overcrowded such as chrysanthemums, carnations and dahlia cuttings not inserted singly in pots 
  • Pot seedlings of greenhouse plants, begonias, gloxinias 
  • Keep a lookout for pests such as greenfly, red spider mites and thrips and treat as preferred 
  • Take chrysanthemum cuttings 
  • Make a first sowing under glass of primulas that flower in the greenhouse during winter 
  • Stop early flowering chrysanthemums, grown to produce lots of flowers or for garden decoration, by pinching out the growing tips 
  • Prune hardy fuchsias, buddleia, hydrangea, leycesteria, caryopteris, cornus (dogwood) and salix (willow). Prune evergreen shrubs, hedges, topiaries and trim formal hedges 
  • Feed roses with a dressing of compound fertiliser 
  • Rest freesias that have flowered during winter 
  • Sow zinnias in a warm, sheltered frame 
  • Plant violas and pansies that have been hardened off

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