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Thursday, 1 April 2021

This Month in Your Garden - April

‘Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.’ Ellis Peters

Hardy annuals are among the least expensive ways of creating colourful flower beds or filling gaps in borders and they are easy to grow. Sow them directly into the soil when the ground is warm enough, around 7°C (45°F) and sufficiently dry to rake down to a crumbly and fine tilth. You need no fertiliser because most annuals like poorer soil to produce more flowers. You can create large areas of bold or subtle themes in shades of one colour, or a kaleidoscope of multi-colours. 

If the soil is too wet and cold and you have a greenhouse you can sow them in trays of soil-less compost; alternatively, sow indoors. By sowing the seeds thinly you can grow them on without thinning then harden them off when they are about 5cm (2”) high. You can lift the block of seedlings from the tray and cut them into 4cm (1½”) squares using a knife and plant them straight into the ground in blocks. 

Another route to growing bedding, without the cost of buying bedding plants, is to order plug plants from a grower’s catalogue or online. They will be ready for transplanting but you will need to grow them on until frost danger has passed before planting out in late May or early June. Other jobs to enjoy in April are dividing Hosta, planting herbaceous perennials such as geranium and Oriental poppies and sowing sweet peas directly into the soil. 

Plant out any autumn-sown sweet peas grown in pots. Apply general fertilizer to borders and beds, except where you sow annuals. Tie in honeysuckle and clematis and plant hardwood cuttings taken last year. And don’t forget to hoe those borders before the weeds take over!

  • Watch for frost and protect tender plants with horticultural fleece or cloches
  • Deadhead daffodils before they form seed heads
  • Look out for slugs, greenfly and caterpillars and attract birds to the garden to deal with them
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses and stake tall perennials
  • Divide dahlia tubers and pot them on
  • Lift and divide perennials to give them more vigour and you more plants
  • Feed roses a dressing of compound fertilizer
  • Attend to your pond if you have one   

PRUNING

Prune hardy fuchsias, Buddleia, Hydrangea, Leycesteria, Caryopteris, Cornus (dogwood) and salix (willow). Prune evergreen shrubs, hedges, topiary and trim formal hedges 





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