We see the first stirrings of new life in our gardens, parks and countryside in the spring months of February and March with sweet little snowdrops, vibrant crocuses and then the cheerful daffodils celebrating St David’s day. But it isn’t until April, after the clocks have changed and we really feel the first warming rays of the sun, that everything bursts forth with amazing vigour, transforming our surroundings and encouraging us outside to enjoy the spectacle unfolding.
This year, more than any other, those of us lucky enough to have a garden of any size, ranging from beautiful grounds to a pretty little window box, should make the most of the pleasure it can bring, while reaping the benefits of the healthy fresh air at the same time.
Of course, like all gardeners, at any level of enthusiasm and ability will know, there will also be lots of things to do at this lovely time of year, so let’s just explore a few of them:
General tidy up after the winter frosts and storms - including the shed!
Our flowers beds can look a bit bedraggled and worse for wear after the ravages of winter. Now is a great time to don the wellies and the gardening gloves, dust off the secateurs, and the rest of the gardening tools, and start fixing this. Bushes and shrubs can be gently pruned into shape, roses fed, tender perennials cut back, beds can be weeded, dug and hoed and garden ponds can be cleared of leaves and general debris. If you enjoy having plants in pots, these too can be trimmed in to shape, with some having a good first feed to encourage strong and vigorous growth and those overwintering inside, being put out. Just take care to protect from any potential frosts, a common feature in the month of April.
Get sowing those seeds!
April is the month for sowing many different types of seeds. These include the stunning hardy annuals that will grace your garden borders later in the year, lots for the vegetable patch, such as broad beans, peas, spring onions, parsnips, carrots; this list goes on and on, and don’t forget the herbs for the kitchen garden. Time to get sowing!
Start a wildflower area
These days, it is important to support and encourage all the wildlife you possibly can, in whatever space you have available to you. This can range from a corner of your garden to a window box or garden pot. There are many plants and flowers that attract insects such as bees, moths and butterflies, include cornflowers, buttercups, corn poppies, marigolds and camomile to name just a few. It is easy to find wildflower seed mixes available to buy or order online, or you could just select your favourites to sow. The advantage of these is that you can just scatter the seeds wherever you want them to grow, without the hard work of too much ground preparation first. Just remember to water if the weather is dry and then sit back and enjoy the beauty of the flowers and the wildlife they attract.
Nothing evokes the feeling of summer like the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of freshly cut grass! It’s time to give your lawnmower some TLC and give that lawn its first cut; albeit some of us in milder regions will have already done this - and don’t cut it too short at this stage. It is important to give your lawn a good spring feed, deal with any bare patches and if you’re really into lawns, now is the time for scarifying and aerating.
If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse, April is a busy month with it all happening in here too! There are lots of jobs to do while enjoying the warmth of the sun inside when it can still be a bit chilly outside.
Hopefully, you will have lots of seedlings growing that will need thinning out, with tomato plants now needing to be transplanted into grow bags or large containers. You can now start to plant up beautiful hanging baskets and pots with summer bedding, but keep these indoors until after the last frost. Maintenance tasks include; cleaning the glazing to let that lovely sunshine in and remember to open greenhouse doors and vents on warm days to improve air circulation.
For all of us that enjoy our gardens, let’s get some fresh air and start the foundations of what will become a glorious, colourful and scented haven in the trying weeks to come, and where we can eventually hope to share time with our family and friends again and enjoy our lovely summer.
If you enjoy your garden and would like to pass on any handy tips and ideas, we'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment.