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APRIL

Posted on 19th March, 2017

Spring is here! Suddenly there is life all around. Leaves are returning to the trees and flowers are blooming everywhere.

 

Here are a few jobs to get you out in the garden.

 

If you only do one thing this month: weed. With increasing hours of daylight and warmer temperatures, the weeds are really going to race from now on. They say one year’s seeds means seven year’s weeds: so get rid of weeds before they flower. Hoe off on a sunny day and rake, or pull by hand.

 

PRUNING

 

Prune forsythia and Ribes (Flowering Currants) - after flowering. Both can be cut back as hard as you like, as long as you do it right after flowering. This gives them enough time to put on plenty of new growth for next years flowering.

 

 

 

 

If you haven't already done so, cut back Buddleias. They can be cut back quite hard to keep a neat and tidy bush with plenty of flower.

April is the latest you should be doing this.

Prune mophead hydrangeas by taking off last year's flowers and cutting about a third of the shoots back to two buds, remove any crossing or damaged stems.

 

HERBACEOUS BORDERS

 

Still time to plant herbaceous perennials - there are so many to choose from and they'll provide flowers and colour for months on end.

To get the best out of them, make sure you dig over the soil, remove any perennial weeds and then dig in plenty of organic matter, such as planting compost. Plant firmly and water in well afterwards.

A 2-3in thick mulch of planting compost placed around the plants afterwards will ensure they get off to the best possible start and will help keep weeds down.

Tall and floppy herbaceous plants, especially those in windy and exposed gardens will need some form of support such as twiggy shoots or metal supports.

Putting plant supports in place now will help prevent problems later on when it's difficult or impossible to do anything about it and the plants will grow up through them, covering them discreetly.

Then carefully tie in the stems as they develop with soft string or similar, criss-crossing the strings between the supports

Hopefully all the pruning is out of the way by now, so your next step is feeding and mulching climbers, roses and other shrubs and perennial plants. This is vital if you want them to perform well this year. Slow release feeds are best, and the magic mulch can be anything from well-rotted garden compost or manure, to bought in compost or bark chippings.

 

PESTS

 

We didn’t get much in the way of deep penetrating frost this winter so this could mean that slugs could be a real challenge this year, and your precious seedlings could soon disappear. They will also feed on new growth of dahlias, delphiniums or of course their favourite hostas! So get some slug pellets around early.

Another problem to watch out for is the scarlet Lilly beetle mentioned in my article last year which will strip all the leaves before they even flower. I spray mine with provado bug killer every 6 weeks for protection.They will also eat one of my favourite flowering bulbs which are Frittilaria imperialis( pictured below)

 

 

 

So with lots to do again this month, let's hope we get plenty of lovely warm spring days to get out in the garden.

 

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