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Gardening in April
Welcome to this column, it is designed to help to encourage and inspire you in your gardening endeavours.
Everytime I go out into the garden, I swear I see something new bursting into growth! Although because of the unusual heavy frosts this winter I’m also discovering unexpected damage. My advice is to trim off blackened or affected leaves and prune the stems down on shrubs that haven’t survived. Keep a close eye on them and fingers crossed they may spring back into life in time.
Jobs to do are rapidly increasing, so don’t let things get out of hand! Learn how to plant a wildlife border and take steps to a wildlife garden. Find out about trees in pots in the plant profile. Make plans to visit local gardens and go to Events.
Jobs to do
Leave daffodil leaves to die off naturally, remove suckers from roses and place supports for Herbaceous perennials; Delphiniums, Campanula and Poppy. Remember to water containers as the weather warms up.
Cut down Lavender and Sage to within 5-10cm, prune Forsythia, Camellia and Winter Jasmine after flowering to a third of the oldest stem. Cut back Lavatera to base of plant, remove last year’s flowerheads from Hydrangea and prune back Evergreens to a third of the stem.
In the pond; remove blanket weed and divide overgrown pond plants. Thin out Water Lilies if not flowering, cut off young rhizomes and repot. In mild spells start to feed fish.
Now is the time for seed sowing in the vegetable garden; Beetroot, Broad Beans, Early Carrots, Chard, Kohl Rabi, Lettuces, Spring Onions and Turnips. Plant onion sets and start peas off in a length of guttering; when the seedlings are ready to plant out, simply slide compost out into growing position.
In the cold frame or greenhouse; sow Brussel Sprouts, Calabrese, Summer Cauliflower, Kale and Lettuces. At the end of April sow French and Runner Beans. Finish planting chitted Potatoes and earth up those already in the ground. Remove shoots from fruit trees that are sprouting from below the graft onto the root stock.
Choose a sunny, sheltered site or build a raised bed, most young plants are available in garden centres or nurseries now, don’t worry about the size they’ll soon grow!
1. Buddleia davidii
Dig over the entire border; add composted bark or garden compost and organic fertiliser such as chicken manure pellets. Rake over and lay out the plants in their pots. Begin planting from the back, adjusting position to give space and water well. This border will need little maintenance; remove dead flowers to encourage more flowers and leave to die down naturally to provide a home over winter for insects.
Steps to a wildlife garden
• Choose nectar-rich plants; Buddleia, Catmint, Sedums, Fuchsia and Vebena Bonariensis.
Trees to use;
5 April – Spring Plant Fair; Arley Hall and Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire. www.arleyhallandgardens.com
12 April 12pm & 13 April 4pm - Easter Trail; Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 1SP 01768 361 893 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
23 - 26 April – Harrogate Spring Flower Show, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate HG2 8PW, 08707 583 333 www.flowershow.org.uk
25 - 26 April – Bluebell Walks; Arley Hall and Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire. www.arleyhallandgardens.com
26 April – Bluebell Walks; Cumbermere Abbey, 1pm-5pm £3 & under 16 £2 – 2 mile walk, Whitchurch, Cheshire, SY13 4AJ, 01948 662 880
The column in May will provide tips to plant up hanging baskets and planters; a guide to growing herbs and how to get your lawn into shape. All items mentioned are available in most garden centres or look on the Internet. Information provided accurate at time of writing.
© Pam Pickard 1/4/09
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