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Tuesday 1 April 2014

This Month in your Garden – April

Ready to start planting…

It’s a busy month for the gardener and time to catch up if bad weather in March has delayed your progress. It’s time to sow hardy annuals outdoors where they are to grow and early in the month you can sow annual climbers.

Clearing up borders is a good place to begin if you haven’t already done so. Cut away dead growth from last year’s herbaceous plants, dig out weeds and spread some compost on the surface, then lightly fork it in. Now you’re ready to start planting new herbaceous plants and a trip to the garden centre for summer flowering plants such as achilleas, delphiniums and lupins will give you a mass of colour.

Hardy annuals can be sown from seed to fill gaps in established borders for bold splashes of colour and attracting the bees and butterflies. Wait though until the temperature reaches above 7ºC (45ºF) to enable germination. You can buy bedding economically as plug plants and grow them on ready for planting out when the frosts pass.

If you don’t have room for a rockery you can make a scree garden for gravelly conditions in which to grow alpines. Use grit, never sand, with the soil and a well-rotted garden compost as the planting medium, with pea shingle or coarse grit for a mulch on the surface. Alpines hate excess wet conditions so you’re aiming for efficient drainage but reducing water loss by applying the mulch.

  • Pinch off spent bulb heads
  • Plant climbers to add height to the garden display
  • Feed and mulch roses
  • Plant gladioli
  • Plant alpines, ideally in a scree bed or rockery
  • Propagate shrubs by layering
  • Mow lawns more frequently
  • Plant evergreen shrubs
  • Prune and repot flowering shrubs, such as azaleas and camellias that have flowered
  • Check for self-seeded plants when forking and weeding the border
  • Remove side shoots and pinch out tendrils on cordon sweet peas

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