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Tuesday 3 April 2018

This Month in Your Garden – April

No life is without difficulties. No garden is without weeds.
C.L. Fornari

It seems like it’s been a long time since we were truly able to get into the garden with the sun on our backs. It depends of course which part of the country you’re in but for many there are those jobs we keep putting off because the weather has been against us. Still, one thing is certain, weeds will grow and now is the time to take control.
Arm yourself with a hoe and stop those annual and perennial weeds from spreading. If you have to, lift herbaceous perennials that have couch grass growing through them and remove grass and weed roots before replanting the plant.

At the same time, clear out any tired-looking winter bedding, cut away dead growth from last year’s herbaceous plants and prepare beds, spreading some compost and mulching where needed. That should have warmed you up so it’s time to outdoor sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flowers from seed. And you get a colourful way to fill gaps in borders and bring in the bees and butterflies.

April mild spells also spell trouble from aphids which rapidly multiply – sweet peas can be early victims – and the quickest way to deal with the insects is to remove them by hand. Slugs and snails will avariciously attack young delphiniums, lilies and hostas – funny the other name for snails is gastropods - and they devour at speed. Organic slug pellets or a beer trap – the slug pub – are among the many ways you can deal with them.

  • Lay slug and snail traps – a half scooped out orange, grapefruit or melon skin or slug pub
  • Sow annuals when the temperature reaches above 7ºC (45ºF) to enable germination  
  • Look out for signs of vine weevil in containers – plants will start to wilt
  • Make a scree garden and plant alpines if you don’t have room for a rockery 
  • Remove dead leaves from around rockery plants
  • Look out for downy mildew and leaf spot on pansies
  • Feed and mulch roses 
  • Plant climbers to add height to your garden display
  • Plant a continuous crop of cut flowers for the summer
  • Plant up hanging baskets towards the end of April  

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