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Ladybrook Nursery’s tips for the April garden

Spring is finally in the air. You might not think so after the rains this Bank Holiday weekend, but the evidence is there for all of us to see none the less: daffodils are flowering and trees are starting to bloom. The weather might be a little off-putting, but never the less it’s the time of year when we should all be getting out in the garden. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got all day to spare or just half an hour to dedicate to your own little garden patch: there’s always something that needs to be done. So here are Ladybrook Nursery’s tips for the April garden.

Garden and Plant Care

  • Look after your beds and prepare for the growing season. Dig in a generous [5cm or more] layer of compost or well-rotted manure into your beds. You can also work in a general purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and bone.
  • Spread a layer of organic mulch like well-rotted manure around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the summer weather arrives.
  • Feed trees, shrubs and hedges by raking in a balanced slow-release fertiliser into the soil surface. Roses particularly, being greedy plants, and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.
  • Lift and divide perennial plants. This will not only make them more vigorous, nut will also create new plants for your garden.
  • Divide Hostas before they come into leaf.
  • Divide Primroses once they have finished flowering.
  • Move evergreen shrubs and trees now, provided the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs like Gladiolus, Lilies and Ranunculus into beds, borders and containers.
  • Forced flower bulbs like hyacinths and daffodils can be planted out in garden borders once they have finished flowering.
  • Hardwood cuttings taken last year may now be ready to plant or pot on.
  • Make sure you put in supports for plants now, so that the plants can grow up through them. Doing this later will risk damaging the plants.
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses to their supports.
  • Honeysuckle and Clematis will now be actively growing, so tie in new stems to train the plant along its support.
  • Check tree ties to ensure they are not damaging the trunk. Loosen any that are tight to allow the trunk room to expand.
  • Prune Penstemons now, by cutting 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 already done so, finish cutting back any dead perennial and ornamental grass foliage 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. This will stop the plants becoming leggy.
  • Continue to remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will also encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.
  • Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers finish but leave the foliage intact allowing it to die back naturally.
  • Direct sow hardy annuals outside or in pots/modules.
  • Check that your container plants are not drying out – warm weather will quickly affect soil moisture levels.

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