April 01, 2021
April is a time for buds, fresh foliage and masses of colour. The sense of rejuvenation in the garden is palpable. If you are a novice gardener, now is the time to get started and enjoy seeing the fruits of your labours in just a few weeks. The sheer rate of growth of everything from seeds, young plants, perennials, shrubs, trees and even grass during April and May is unsurpassed for the rest of the year.
Although I would normally suggest the best time for planting many plants is the cooler days of autumn, the excitement of seeing spring-flowering shrubs in their full glory makes for a temptation difficult to resist. One of the most impressive displays at this time of year is that of the rhododendrons and azaleas. Many are so laden with bold flowers that the usually dominant evergreen foliage is completely covered. For inspiration, take a trip to Leonardslee Gardens and Savill Garden – but it must be when they are in bloom.
Fresh growth brings new needs. Weeds are now also flourishing - catch them young by hoeing regularly. This will make all the difference and will stop them becoming deep-rooted and persistent. It will also eliminate the need for chemical weedkillers. Feeding of all plants can begin in earnest now. Granular feeds are more slow-release and long-lasting, but it’s best to give an instant liquid feed zap to yellowing leaves.
Many flower and vegetable seeds can be sown directly into the ground now for flowering and harvest this year. For smaller gardens use vegetable starter plants in growbags, vegetable bags or planters where space is at a premium.
To make a wonderful show in a small space, plant a few sweet pea seedlings in pot with a wigwam of bamboo canes. A sunny spot with regular feeding will bring a mass of colour and scent during the summer.