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April

For many gardeners, April is the most exciting and beautiful month of the year. Bulbs, shrubs and alpines are bursting into bloom bringing colour and scent to parks and gardens everywhere and the picture is enhanced by the soft greens, golds and pinks of unfurling foliage.

 

April’s mix of sunshine and showers means that almost every day there are new flowers and fresh leaves to enjoy; it also means there’s lots to be getting on with. Try to start the day with a short walk around the garden to see what’s new. Take advantage of the rising temperatures and longer days to get outside and spend an hour doing some sowing and planting. Then relax and enjoy.

Traditionally April has been a very changeable month of sun and showers, but in recent years the pattern has been disrupted. April 2007 was one of the driest and warmest on record with temperatures topping 20ºC for several days. The two previous Aprils were also warmer than average. The number of hours of sunshine in the month also seems to be increasing. All this spring sunshine can easily tempt gardeners into planting out bedding plants that seem to arrive earlier and earlier into the garden centres. Just remember that nights are still cold and also that the warmth may not last. In recent years, May has often been very wet and cold, so don’t plant out unless you will be able to protect young tender plants if the weather changes suddenly.

April is usually a calm month although coastal areas may have strong winds for a few days. Rainfall is very variable. Although April 2007 was the driest on record, two of the three wettest Aprils on record have happened this century (in 2000 and 2004). Snow is not unknown in April but rarely hangs around for long.

To sum up what you can expect in April – almost anything. The best advice is to check your local weather forecast regularly and try to protect young and tender plants as best you can.

       
 

Essential Jobs Checklist for April

  • Plant new shrubs, perennials and rock plants

  • Plant evergreen hedges

  • Weed borders and mulch

  • Prune shrubs that have finished flowering

  • Prune lavenders and other grey-leaved shrubs

  • Prune hydrangeas

  • Continue to dead-head daffodils

  • Check for pests especially on roses and in the greenhouse

  • Continue to sow hardy annuals out of doors

  • Plant out autumn-sown sweet peas

  • Tie-in new growth of clematis and other climbers

  • Plant maincrop potatoes

  • Continue to sow vegetables outdoors

  • Feed blackcurrants and blackberries

  • Start sowing tender vegetables in the greenhouse

  • Take cuttings of tender plants

  • Treat moss on lawns and re-seed bare patches

  • Create new lawns from seed

  • Continue repotting houseplants and cacti

  • Divide overgrown pond plants including water lilies

     

 

Around the Garden and Home

 
 
 
 

Last chance to...

  • Cut back ornamental grasses

  • Divide perennials

  • Lay turf

     

 

 

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