“April is the kindest month. April gets you out of your head and out working in the garden.”
― Marty Rubin
April has begun with heat and sunshine, followed by frosts and snow. Aside from meaning we don’t know what to wear most days, it’s reminded us that the weather in April can be volatile, meaning that plants and crops in your garden may still require protection in the form of fleece or cloches. As the weather eventually does warm up, the weeds will grow in earnest, so be prepared to dig them up before they become established…
Direct sow wildflower seed mixtures – they’re great for bees and butterflies and they add colour too.
Apply a layer of mulch around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the hot weather arrives. Use organic matter such as well-rotted manure.
Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced, slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil surface. Roses are greedy plants and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.
Divide primroses after they have finished flowering.
Continue to plant herbaceous perennials.
If any of your garden plants will need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up through them. Adding supports afterwards is difficult and and may damage the plant.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses to their supports.
Honeysuckle and Clematis will now be putting on growth, tie in new stems to train the plant along its support.
Check any tree ties to make sure the tie is not cutting into the trunk. Loosen any that are tight to allow the trunk room to expand.
Prune your penstemons now – cut all the old shoots back to the base provided there is new growth at the bottom of the plant. If there are no new shoots at the base, cut just above the lowest set of leaves.
If you haven’t done so already, finish cutting back any dead foliage left on your perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
Prune Forsythia as soon as they have finished flowering, cutting back to strong young shoots.
Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent the plants becoming leggy.
Continue to remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring