Gardening in April: Things are really hotting up in the garden, with sowing, planting and weeding all well under way

Contents

Shrubs

Some people say it’s best to cut lavender back in autumn but April is a better option, especially if you live in a frost-prone area. If you prune in autumn, all the new cuts you make will be exposed and open to infection through winter, but prune now and the plant can start growing quickly. Just turn a blind eye to the dead stems during the winter months. Lavenders are notorious for getting straggly and leggy and the best way to avoid that is to give them a really hard prune. Look for the lowest little bud on each stem that’s about to sprout and cut just above it.

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Perennials

Direct sow annuals such as nigella, cosmos and Californian poppies in any gaps you have in the beds. These are the ‘throw and sow’ seeds and couldn’t be easier. Just ensure that as far as possible the ground is clear of weeds, well-fed and raked, and then sprinkle the seeds on the surface. They should germinate in a matter of days.

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Direct sowing: 3 seeds to buy now

Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’ (love-in-a-mist)

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£1.99, Crocus

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Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Gazebo Mixed’

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£2.99, Thompson & Morgan

California poppy (red chief)

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99p, Premier Seeds Direct via Amazon

Fruit and vegetables

This is the month to start off most sowings – broad beans, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, leeks, parsnip, peas and spinach. Also plant out seed potatoes and raspberry and blackberry canes.

There’s still time to put strawberries and asparagus into permanent beds. Now is also the ideal month to plant globe and Jerusalem artichokes.

Under cover, keep sowing any tender vegetables you want to grow, such as aubergines, sweetcorn and melons. Don’t forget to put in a few sunflower seeds. They’ll brighten up the patch and can fit in the smallest space.

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Dig in: nine things to do in the garden in April

6. Plant a rose

Hardy, long-lived, versatile and with beautiful, edible, scented flowers, it’s no wonder roses are making a comeback. Technically, you can plant container-grown roses at any time of the year as long as the ground isn’t bone dry, frozen hard or dripping wet but April is traditionally a good month to do so. Just make sure to give the plants a fertile, well-drained soil enriched with well-rotted manure or garden compost, a sprinkle of slow-release fertiliser, and a position in full sun or light shade, and to pick a suitable variety. From giant ramblers such as Rosa ‘Wedding Day’ that can scramble up a mature tree or clamber up the side of a two-storey building to compact patio varieties that are happy to grow in a pot, there’s a rose for every Irish garden. Most good garden centres carry an excellent selection at this time of year.

7. Plant a tree lily

Imagine what a lily would look like if it was growing in Gulliver’s land of giants and you’ll have some idea of the size of these huge plants, which can grow up to 2.5m tall and produce up to 40 large, deeply scented, trumpet-shaped blooms. Despite their size, tree lilies will grow happily in a large, deep pot filled with a John Innes soil-based compost enriched with a little well-rotted manure and a sprinkle of slow-release fertiliser, making them perfect for a container garden as long as you can give them plenty of vertical space. Technically, their fleshy bulbs should be in the ground by the end of March, but early April is fine, especially given the recent Siberian weather. Plant the large bulbs to a depth equivalent to three times their height and 15cm apart (three to a large pot is about right), give them a lightly shaded, sheltered spot and keep them well-watered and protected from slugs. As they grow taller, tree lilies also need some form of support, so either stake them or gently tie their thick fleshy flower stems to a nearby wall/trellis. Tree lily bulbs are available from good garden centres, see mrmiddleton.com.

Asparagus needs a prime spot in the garden or allotment (full sun and a really rich, well-drained, weed-free soil) as well as plenty of time but the reward is decades of deliciousness. Photograph: Richard Johnston

8. Grow your own asparagus

A gardening friend of mine has her very own asparagus bed (planted many years ago) and every spring I watch with envy as the thick, juicy spears push their way through the earth. True, you need to give these very long-lived, hardy perennial plants a prime spot in the garden or allotment (full sun and a really rich, well-drained, weed-free soil) as well as plenty of time (it will be a couple of years before you’ll get your first harvest) but the reward is decades of deliciousness. April is the perfect time to plant asparagus as bare-root crowns, which should be spread out onto 10cm-high ridges of soil and then covered so that just the tips are visible. Recommended varieties include the strong-growing, purple-tipped ‘Connover’s Colossal’, the heavy-cropping ‘Guelph Millenium’ and the early, especially flavoursome ‘Mondeo’.

Lavender is one of those great all-rounders in the garden and April is the perfect month to plant this low-maintenance shrub. Photograph: Richard Johnston

9. Plant a lavender hedge

With its aromatic, silver-grey, evergreen foliage and scented, edible purple flower spikes (use them sparingly in homemade ice-cream and cakes to add a pop of floral flavour), lavender is one of those great all-rounders in the garden. April is the perfect month to plant this low-maintenance shrub. Just make sure to give it a very free-draining, not overly rich soil and a position in full sun. Bear in mind that not all lavenders are created equal when it comes to coping with our cool, damp climate, so avoid what’s known as French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and instead focus on varieties of English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Examples of the latter include the classic Lavandula ‘Hidcote’, a compact variety (height and spread of 60-75cm) with violet-purple flowers, and the even more compact L ‘Imperial Gem’ (deep purple flowers, 60cm x 45cm).

Dates For Your Diary:

Thursday, April 5th (8pm), The Artane Beaumont Family Recreation Centre, Kilmore Road, Artane, Dublin 5, ‘Herbaceous Perennials’, a talk by John Eivers of Meath-based Riverlane Nurseries Plants on behalf of Dublin 5 Horticultural Society.

Saturday April 7th (2pm), Chanel College, Coolock Village, Dublin 5, The Dublin 5 Spring Show.

Thursday April 12th (3pm), Visitor Centre, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, ‘Lesser-Known Orchids Revealed’, an afternoon lecture by the garden’s glasshouse foreman, orchid expert and author Brendan Sayers, see botanicgardens.ie.

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  • Take a look at these jobs to do in the garden in April to help you on your way to a spring-happy outdoor space

    April sees the arrival of warmer weather so it’s time to head out into the garden to start sprucing things up.

    As Brits gear up for the first of their spring projects in the garden, their lawns, beds and borders will likely be in a state of recovery following the recent spate of intense cold weather. Waterlogging, loss of soil nutrients and perished plants are just a few of the damaging side effects from the ‘Beast from the East’, which swept across the UK recently with heavy snowfall and penetrating frosts, according to Wyevale Garden Centres.

    Want to get ahead of your gardening? READ: Jobs to do in the garden in May: repotting, pruning and planting

    Plant summer-flowering bulbs

    Image credit: Michelle Garrett

    Make sure your summer-flowering bulbs are in the ground, if not done already. Prepare the soil first, to ensure that drainage is sufficient to prevent the bulbs rotting. Anemone coronaria tubers, for instance, need particularly well-drained soils. Check that the plants you buy have strong shoots and plant them into well-prepared soil.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar plants, Wyevale Garden Centre

    Get pruning

    Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs after flowering, before full leaf growth and while you can see their shape more clearly. When pruning perennials some plants will benefit from having their flowering shoots thinned out. Although this results in fewer blooms, but they will be larger and of much better quality. Plus, B&Q have 20% off all plants from today until Monday 2nd April.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar garden tools, B&Q

    Hang a basket of beautiful blooms

    Plant up hanging baskets. Single species (like the fuschia seen here), or foliage-rich baskets – a bountiful mixture of fern varieties is particularly striking – are ideal for spring. To sharpen the look, add in white violas and cyclamen. Stand the container in a bucket for support and fill to two-thirds with John Innes No 3. Pack the plants together, water and leave to settle for a couple of days before hanging.

    Make your water feature a focal point

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    Clear and maintain water features, and plant pond (oxygenating plants that live beneath the water) and marginal water plants (which provide food and habitat for animal and insect life, as well as providing colour and form to your pond or lake edge). Feed large aquatic plants by inserting slow-release fertiliser tablets well below soil level around the base of the plant.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar water plants, Waterlily

    Think about annuals and perennials

    Image credit: Amateur Gardening

    It is too late to plant bare-root shrubs and trees but April is the month to start planting annuals (try laceflowers and cosmos) and hardy perennials such as coreopsis (pictured) and agastache.

    Get the look
    But now: Similar plants, Hayloft plants

    Unwrap tree ferns

    Unwrap exotic plants from their protective horticultural fleeces. If you’ve been protecting your tree fern or exotic plants from the frosty weather, now is the perfect time to unwrap them. You may notice on some of the crowns, newly emerging fronds are revealed, curled up tight waiting to unfurl. Tree ferns thrive in a sheltered, humid and shaded position, with plenty of room so that the top of the plant can spread without crowding.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar plants, Wyevale Garden Centre

    Bring out the bird feeder

    Image credit: David Giles

    Birds will still appreciate you putting seed out for them to eat, and you should also start growing a good selection of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs; include annuals such as cosmos and sweet violets, perennials such as asters and campanula, and flowering shrubs such as Mahonia japonica and rosemary.

    Related: Check out these top tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden

    Sow a wildflower meadow

    We would encourage you to have an organic lawn, or even an area of grassy land that is more like a meadow, rather than a cricket-pitch-perfect mono culture (the latter requires regular and considerable watering, feeding and weed control, as well as mowing to keep it in perfect condition). You can convert your non-organic lawn quickly and simply by taking your foot off the pedal and letting nature have more free rein; you can still mow but not as frequently, and leave the clippings to decompose, thereby feeding the ground with natural nitrogen; a spray of liquid seaweed will help make your grass grow richly green.

    Veg out

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Young vegetable plants and seedlings are now well on their way but should still be kept under cover. Plant out tomatoes under cover and outside, get your garlic, onion, shallots and potatoes into the ground. While you should keep an eye on the weather forecast for sudden overnight frosts, most vegetable seed can be sown straight into the ground now. As the young plants grow, keep them safe from violent rainfall and strong winds, and harvest as crops become ready, to avoid a glut.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Garlic bulbs, Dobbies

    Start pulling up unsightly weeds

    Keep on top of the weeding, hoeing once a week if possible, and keep mulching thinly but evenly. All weeds can be controlled without weedkillers, but persistent or deep rooted weeds may be very difficult to eradicate. Hoeing, hand-pulling, repeated cutting and flame guns are just some of the many methods used to remove weeds.

    Video Of The Week

    It is a good idea to put weed barriers in place in late winter, as they work better as a preventative measure. Use deep organic mulches such as bark or wood chip to smother weeds around plants. Keep it topped up to ensure its effectiveness. Garden edging boards can be used to prevent unwanted invasive rooted grasses such as couch grass from entering the border.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Woodchip Mulch, £80, B&Q

    With this months jobs done take a few moments to sit in the sun, listen to the new birds song and enjoy your spring planting. Make a note of any gaps in your planting to order any bulbs in the autumn for next year.

    What to do in the garden in April

  • • Brush away any worm casts on dry days.
  • • Mow your lawnmore regularly, as required. Lower your mower blades towards the end of the month.
  • • Recut lawn edges to straighten them up.
  • • Install lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
  • • Aerate compacted areas of lawn, by spiking it with a garden fork.
  • Other jobs about the garden

    Think of your feathered friends by topping up bird baths
    Image: Abi Warner

    And here are some other jobs to be getting on with this month:

    • • Check compost bins to see if you have any compost that’s ready to use.
    • • Improve the drainage of heavy soils by incorporating plenty of organic matter.
    • • Top up raised beds with compost and good quality topsoil.
    • • Top dress containers with fresh compost. If your containers are already full, replace the top 5 cm of old compost with fresh stuff.
    • • Keep on top of weeding now that the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders.
    • • Apply weed killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios.
    • • Look out for signs of pests and diseases, early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.
    • • Remove dirt from your paths and paving before summer arrives. Use a pressure washer or special patio cleaner.
    • • Buy fresh potting compost from your local garden centre and store it in a cool, dry place in preparation for the season ahead.
    • • Invest in water butts. Position them under a downpipe to make the most of rainfall.
    • • Top up bird baths and bird feeders to encourage birds into your garden.

    From your armchair

    With longer light hours, spend some time tending to your houseplants.
    Image: Clickmanis

    Lastly, here are some of the garden tasks you can do from the comfort of your armchair, while you’re dodging the April showers:

    • • Keep track of what you have sown and planted in your diary – it will really help you out later in the year.
    • • Give your houseplants some TLC – the warmer weather and longer light hours will encourage them to grow and they may require more water.
    • • Buy vegetable plug plants to free up some window-sill space and take away the hassle of sowing seed.

    Gardening jobs for April

    For April, we suggest mowing your lawn, killing weeds and planting sweet peas.

    In this article:

    • Get your lawn in shape
    • Kill weeds
    • Plant out sweet peas
    • Harvest salads
    • Veg jobs for April

    Get your lawn in shape

    After a winter of neglect, your lawn will benefit from a bit of TLC now. Start mowing once a week, beginning with the blades at the highest setting and gradually lowering them over the weeks. If your lawn mower needs replacing, see our Best Buy lawn mowers.

    For a perfect finish, trim the lawn’s edges with long-handled shears or a grass trimmer

    Lastly, give the lawn a feed. If it contains weeds or moss, treat these at the same time with a weed, feed and mosskiller treatment.

    Kill weeds

    Getting on top of weeds early in the season means that you should prevent them seeding and becoming a problem. Hoeing the border once a week works well.

    Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, will come back if they’re hoed off, so to get rid of them permanently either dig them out roots and all or use a weedkiller containing glyphosate.

    Plant out sweet peas

    After pinching out sweet peas last month, they should have strong side-shoots that will flower well.

    Plant them next to a support that they can climb by wrapping their tendrils around; they’ll need to be tied in with string at the start to get them going.

    Harvest salads

    Early sowings of salads should be ready to pick now. Cut off the leaves, rather than pulling up the whole plant, and they should resprout new ones.

    Good salads to try include loose-leaf lettuce, rocket, mizuna and mustard.

    Veg jobs for April

    April brings warmer weather so it’s time to get sowing and planting.

    • Plant onions
    • Earth up potatoes
    • Sow tender crops indoors

    For our full guide to veg garden jobs for April, watch our video.

    April gardening jobs

    April brings with it longer days and occasionally mild, sunny weather. The colder chill of winter has passed, and spring is in full swing.

    It’s time to enjoy that gentle sunshine, so read on for our top tips on caring for your outside space in April.

    Mild sunny weather in April can make you think summer is already here – but it isn’t. Frost can still catch you out so don’t plant out any tender bedding and patio plants just yet.

    April Focus: Planting summer flowering bulbs

    Planning ahead is an important part of gardening, and spring is the ideal time to get some bulbs in the ground ready for the summer.

    Bulbs are one of our favourite things to plant, they’re ideal for beginner gardeners, easy to look after, and will quickly fill your garden with colour.

    For a riot of colour in June, July and August, you should look to plant your bulbs between March and May. With careful choice, you’ll be able to enjoy these flowers throughout the summer season.

    How to plant summer flowering bulbs

    Grow your own: Salad leaves

    Salad leaves are one of the easiest and trouble-free foods to grow. It’s a great choice if you want to grow something you can use every day but don’t have much, or any, garden space. They can be grown in beds, pots or seed trays, in greenhouses, outside or even on your windowsill. Give it a try with our easy to follow guide.

    How to grow salad leaves

    Garden jobs for April

    General garden tasks

    • Spring clean borders, keep on top of weeding
    • Feed roses, borders, hedges, trees, shrubs and spring bulbs with general purpose fertiliser

    Vegetables and herbs

    • Sow broad beans, summer cabbage, Brussels sprouts, early peas, summer/autumn cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, leeks, beetroot, radish, spring onion, lettuce, rocket, turnip, spinach, parsnips, carrot and onion
    • Plant first early, second early and maincrop potatoes; earth up shoots of early potatoes to protect them from frost
    • Look after your veg – water and hoe regularly, thin out and transplant seedlings, and give support to peas and beans sown earlier
    • Sow hardy herbs (parsley, coriander, fennel, dill and marjoram)

    Fruit

    • Plant out strawberry plants
    • Feed blackcurrants, blackberries and hybrid berries

    Under cover

    • Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days, but shut it down mid-afternoon to retain the heat at night
    • Towards the end of the month, start hardening off bedding plants and frost-tender vegetables grown indoors by standing them outside on fine days
    • Prick out, and thin out seedlings
    • Sow tomatoes
    • Sow frost-tender vegetables (greenhouse melons and cucumbers, sweetcorn, French and runner beans, marrows, pumpkins, squashes and courgettes) for planting outdoors later in a heated propagator

    Ponds

    • Spring clean the pond
    • Divide overgrown plants and put in new water plants
    • Towards the end of the month start feeding your fish

    Lawns

    • Feed grass if you live in the southern part of the UK
    • Treat moss and weeds and re-seed bare patches
    • Sow grass seed to make a new lawn if you can’t wait until autumn
    • Mow lawns at least once a fortnight or once a week in really mild weather

    Trees, shrubs and climbers

    • Plant or move evergreen trees and shrubs
    • Feed acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons
    • Continue planting pot-grown woody plants
    • Tidy up hedges and clip if necessary – although it’s usually best to leave this until next month (always check there are no birds nesting first)
    • Plant pot-grown evergreens for hedges

    Flowers

    • Wait for six weeks after flowers of spring bulbs are over before cutting the foliage down
    • Continue to plant perennials and finish dividing and replanting summer-flowering perennials
    • Plant out hardy annuals sown inside in autumn
    • Continue to sow hardy annuals outside
    • Remove any insulation of borderline-hardy plants

    Patios and containers

    • Plant spring bedding and summer bulbs in pots
    • Plant compact trees, shrubs and evergreens in pots

    April garden project: Create a bird friendly garden

    It doesn’t matter what size your outside space is, or whether you’re out in the countryside or the middle of the urban jungle.

    A few quick and easy considerations in your garden design can help invite animals, minibeasts or birds into the garden. Read our guide for top tips and ideas to help get furry, flying or feathered guests to visit your home.

    How to care for birds in the garden

    10 April Gardening Tips

    For many gardeners, April is the start of the gardening season. Check out these easy tips to get your yard in shape.
    By Doug Jimerson
    1. Plant Tender Bulbs in April
    In Florida and other frost-free regions, plant bulbs such as caladium, tuberous begonia, and canna directly in the garden in April. In colder regions, get a head start on the season by planting these tender bulbs under grow lights indoors.
    Tip: Plant tuberous begonia and caladium bulbs with their rounded side down. New growth emerges from the top (concave) side of the bulbs.
    2. Select Perennial Herbs
    Thyme, lavender, oregano, chives, mint, and sage are perennial herbs that can be planted in April in northern gardens. They require a sunny spot that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. If you have heavy, clay soil, mix in sand and compast at planting time to improve drainage. Herbs will not thrive in wet, mucky soil.
    Tip: Some herbs, such as mint and thyme, are available in a wide range of flavors and scents. Do some research before you plant to customize your herb garden to your own personal taste.
    3. Grow a Salad Garden
    In the North, April is the ideal time to plant salad crops such as Swiss chard, beets, lettuce, arugula, carrots, radishes, and peas. To increase yields, scatter the seeds in 4- to 6-inch wide bands or rows. There’s no need to thin the seedlings: Just let the plants grow, and harvest as you need them.
    Tip: If you are short on space, grow a salad garden in a pot or planter by your kitchen door. Then, just snip what you need as you prepare meals.
    4. Improve Lawns in April
    Fix bare spots in your lawn now. Rake the area to remove dead grass or other debris. Then, seed with Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, or creeping red fescue. To help germination, barely cover the seed with soil and tamp gently. Water daily until the seed germinates.
    Tip: Read the label before you purchase grass seed. Look for mixes that contain less than 1 percent of “weed” or “crop” seeds. Also, never purchase grass seed that has less than a 70 percent germination rate listed on the label.
    5. Plant Roses
    Bare-root and container-grown roses can be planted in April gardens. For great color and easy care, select landscape varieties such as Knock Out. These tough-as-nails roses offer almost continuous bloom. Plus they look great paired with perennials such as black-eyed Susan, Russian sage, and catmint. Select a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
    Tip: Landscape roses such as Knock Out look best planted in clumps of three or more. Repeat at intervals scattered through your garden.
    6. Monitor Rainfall
    If you don’t have a rain gauge, add one to your garden in April. For optimum growth, most plants require about an inch of moisture a week. With a rain gauge you can track rainfall and apply additional moisture as needed. This saves money and conserves water.
    Tip: Place your rain gauge in an open area where it won’t be affected by tall trees or buildings. Be sure to empty it after every rain to ensure accurate measurements and to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the standing water.
    7. Prune Spring-Flowering Bulbs
    As daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips fade, clip off their flower stalks. This encourages the plants to store energy in their bulbs instead of setting seed. Just be sure to leave the foliage alone until it fades naturally. The plant needs the leaves to make energy for next year’s flowers.
    Tip: To camouflage bulb foliage, interplant annual flowers around the bulbs. By the time the bulbs die back completely the annuals will have carpeted the area with bloom.
    8. Add Birdhouses
    If you haven’t done so already, set out birdhouses designed for songbirds such as bluebirds, wrens, purple martens, and chickadees. Nesting songbirds will devour pesky insects that would otherwise feast on you or your garden. Select birdhouses designed with the appropriately sized entrance hole for the species you want to attract. Avoid birdhouses with perches; birds don’t use them, but predators do.
    Tip: Do some research before you install a birdhouse to be sure you are mounting it at the correct height and location.
    9. Replace Annuals
    In frost-free regions, such as southern California and Texas, replace cool-weather annuals, such as pansy, snapdragon, and primula in April gardens with heat-loving cosmos, verbena, vinca, salvia, petunia, sunflower, and zinnia. In the North, hold off on planting warm-weather annuals until mid-May.
    Tip: When purchasing annuals, look for short, stocky plants with rich, green foliage. Often, those that aren’t blooming yet are the best choice. Avoid leggy or wilted plants.
    10. Move Houseplants
    As soon as frost danger has passed, give your houseplants a vacation outdoors. Move them to a shady spot in your backyard where they are protected from high winds. Check them daily and gradually move sun-lovers such as succulents or hibiscus to a brighter location. Most houseplants respond quickly with a burst of new growth.
    Tip: Outdoors, feed houseplants with a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer every time you water. Because the plants will be in active growth, they will appreciate being fed.
    Get our free container gardening idea book for tips and inspiration on using houseplants outdoors!
    April Gardening Questions?
    We love to talk to other gardeners. Email us your questions and we’ll have one of our experts get back to you!

    April Gardening Tips for the Northeast

    Tidy up spring-flowering bulbs by snipping spent blooms of daffodils and hyacinth. Don’t braid or clip leaves. Their photosynthetic efforts fuel next year’s flowers.

    Test Garden Tip: If ripening bulb foliage is an eyesore, consider planting bulbs behind partners whose leaves will hide unsightly bulbs. Choices include peonies, daylilies, coral bells, tall sedum hybrids, or perennial geranium.

    Create your own container full of bulbs.

    Get tips for growing bulbs!

    Containers

    Image zoom

    For an instant spring show, fill containers with purchased forced spring bulbs from supermarkets and garden centers. Tuck in sweet alyssum for a ground-hugging, sweetly scented filler.

    Dress spring pots with color, courtesy of flowers that love cool weather: pansy, viola, and snapdragon. Plant flowering stock for a spicy clove fragrance.

    Last Average Frost Date

    Image zoom

    In northernmost regions and higher elevations, you can still plant cool-season crops. By seed, plant your radishes, peas, lettuces, and other greens; put in transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

    In warmer regions, the last average frost date is this month. Go ahead and plant seedlings of warm-season edibles (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil) when all danger of frost has passed.

    If you haven’t already, get potatoes in the ground as soon as possible.

    The best cold tolerant veggies.

    Find your last spring frost date.

    For Heat-Loving Plants

    Wait to plant seeds of heat-loving crops like corn, green beans, squash, or cucumbers. Soil temperature needs to be 60 F for these seeds to germinate.

    Test Garden Tip: Don’t have a soil thermometer? 60F is warm enough to walk on comfortably barefoot.

    Weeds

    Get the jump on weeds by applying a pre-emergent weed killer to beds and borders. Put it down in early April for best results. It works by preventing seeds from germinating, so don’t apply anywhere you’re planting seeds or hoping self-sowing annuals will appear

    Weed identification guide.

    Water Gardens

    Image zoom

    Clear out debris and muck from the bottom of the water garden and add it to your compost heap. Start feeding fish again when water temperatures hit 50 F or fish are active and eagerly eat food.

    Pruning

    Finish tree and shrub pruning, but don’t touch spring bloomers until flowers fade. You can prune evergreens until late summer. Don’t prune later or new, tender growth will get zapped by winter cold

    Know what to prune now.

    Start fertilizing roses

    Image zoom

    If you choose liquid fertilizers, apply every two weeks until August. For slow-release fertilizers, follow package directions, which may suggest adding to soil every 6 weeks. To use homegrown compost, add a spadeful to soil around roses every month.

    Test Garden Tip: Some fertilizers include systemic pesticide. The benefit is that as you feed roses, you’re also fighting pests. These products can kill beneficial insects and butterflies. Read the label to know the full impact on other insects.

    Ultimate rose care guide.

    Image zoom

    Tackle mower maintenance if you didn’t last month. Replace spark plugs, oil, and air filter. Sharpen the blade.

    Test Garden Tip: In early spring, cold nights can make a shed-stored mower slow to start. Set it in the sun an hour or two before starting and let the sun warm the engine. Covering the engine with a black trash bag warms things up even quicker.

    Find the best mower for you.

    Bare patches & crabgrass

    If you applied crabgrass preventer when forsythia bloomed, wait to seed bare patches until fall. Why? Crabgrass preventer keeps seeds from germinating — including turf grass seeds. If you didn’t apply crabgrass preventer, seed bare spots now for a lush summer lawn.

    Lawn care 101.

    Dandelions

    Early spring is a great time to spot spray or hand-dig dandelions. If spraying, choose a product that won’t kill grass. If digging, wait until after a rain, when soil is soft.

    April Gardening Tips

    Spring is here! It’s time to get ready for the gardening season.

    The weather, rather than the calendar, dictates when to start working in your garden. Be sure to wait until the ground is dry enough to work. To test the soil, simply pick up a handful and squeeze. If the soil stays in a ball after you open your fist, it’s too early. Working in the garden too soon can lead to soil compaction issues, especially with clay soil.

    Ideally, the soil should be loose and crumble from the ball shape when you open your fist.

    The vibrant yellow bloom of the Forsythia bush is a sure sign of Spring. Forsythia tells you when it’s time to handle a variety of gardening activities, including applying the first application of lawn fertilizer with crabgrass preventer and removing winter protection on your shrubs and roses.

    April is also a great time to sharpen or replace your tools, including spades and shovels; and tune equipment, such as lawn mowers, tillers, edgers, weeders, and leaf blowers.

    Lawns
    First step to a beautiful lawn is raking to remove thatch and debris. Make sure the grass is dry so you don’t do damage. Raking loosens the turf and soil to allows moisture, air and fertilizer to get to the roots.

    Next, fertilize and apply weed controls. A convenient approach is a 4-step lawn fertilizer program like Scotts Best Season Long Program. Step one should be applied to a dry lawn in April to provide nutrients as the grass is just starting to grow. This step also prevents crabgrass.

    To maximize the effectiveness of the lawn fertilizer, use Mag-i-cal from Jonanthan Green early in the season to adjust your soil pH.

    Garden Beds
    Prepare beds by raking soil and removing any perennial weeds and loose debris. Mix in lots of good organic matter, like compost, manure or soil conditioner. Add some early-spring color with pansies, primrose, cabbage and kale.

    If the ground is too wet, containers are a great option.

    Cool-season fruits and vegetables like peas, carrots, radishes and leafy greens as well as blueberries and strawberries can be planted as conditions permit. Sow seeds directly into the ground, or plant transplants for a head start.

    Perennials will begin to emerge from the ground. Remove mulch and winter protection from the crowns of the plants. Make note of any perennials that may need to be moved or divided this spring.

    Cut back ornamental grasses, sedums, rudbeckia or any other perennials that were left intact for the winter.

    Spring-flowering Bulbs
    The first sign of Spring are blooms of crocus, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. For gorgeous blooms year to year, fertilize with Bulb-tone when you first see green tips breaking through the ground. Continue fertilizing until the foliage dies back after blooming.

    If you want to move any bulbs around this spring, be sure to mark them so that you can find them after they’ve gone dormant. If you failed to plant bulbs last fall, check out our new line of already-sprouted tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. They’re pre-chilled and ready to plant.

    Roses
    Apply the first treatment for black spot when the forsythia blooms. Spray both the rose canes and the ground about one inch around the plant. Prune roses so that all canes and stems are headed towards the outside of the plant. Branches pointed towards the inside or crossing branches should be pruned out. Canes should be pruned to green growth or to pencil thickness, whichever is closer to the ground. Help protect your plants against rose cane borer by sealing the pruning cuts.

    Shrubs
    This is the time to prune shrubs that bloom in June or later. Removing ¼ to 1/3 of the plant each year will give you a nice compact plant with more blooms and stronger stems.

    Summer-blooming shrubs, such as spirea and potentilla, bloom on this year’s new growth and a well-done spring pruning promotes more new growth. An application of Espoma Flower or Plant tone will give shrubs to great start

    Leave the spring-flowering shrubs, such as lilacs and azaleas, to be pruned after they’ve finished blooming. Pruning now will remove the flower buds.

    Trees
    Prepare your spring dormant oil or Lime Sulfur treatment as your spring flowering trees are breaking dormancy. Weeping Cherry and Flowering Crabapple will benefit from a well-timed early application. Stop Apple Scab on your crabapple and Shothole Blight on your Weeping Cherry this year before your leaves get ugly. When pruning trees, remember to cut back to the branch collar, the slight swelling where the branch meets the tree, for best healing. Healing is delayed if you leave stubs or cut back flush to the tree.

    Vines
    Prune summer-flowering clematis back to two or three big fat healthy buds per stem. Leave your spring-flowering clematis alone for now.

    The best way to rejuvenate other vines is to take off 1/3 of the older growth. Give vines an application of Espoma Flower Tone fertilizer for a healthy start.

    Houseplants
    The days are getting longer so you can start feeding your houseplants more frequently. Remember to give them a quarter turn each week so that they grow evenly. When we have a nice day above 55º that’s not too windy, bring your plants outside and give them a good cleaning. It’s a bit early, however, to move them outside overnight. Once outside, an application of a systemic insecticide every six weeks will keep bugs at bay.

    The Month of April

    By Vigdis Hocken

    April is the fourth month of the year, has 30 days, and is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

    April’s birth flower is Daisy.

    April’s birth flower is the daisy.

    ©bigstockphoto.com/duallogic

    April is the fourth month of the year in our modern day Gregorian calendar.

    Naming April – Aphrodite’s Month

    April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar and its predecessor, the Julian calendar. Its name is derived from the latin word aperit, which means to open. It is considered that April is the month of the growing season and when trees and flowers begin to “open”. It is also believed that the month’s name is named after the Greek goddess, Aphrodite (Aphros).

    • Old English – April or Aprilis
    • Latin name – Aprilis or Aperit – to open
    • Greek – Aphro – short for Aphrodite

    History of April

    April was originally the second month of the year in early versions of the Roman calendar and consisted of 30 days. It became the fourth month consisting of only 29 days when January was designated the first month of the year around 450 BCE. The month became 30 days long again when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar.

    Fourth Month

    April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar and consists of 30 days. It is commonly associated with the season of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall (autumn) in the Southern hemisphere.

    April starts on the same day of the week as July and ends on the same day of the week as December in common years. During leap years, April starts on the same day of the week as January.

    Birth Flower and Stone

    April’s birth flower is the daisy and sweet pea.

    The birthstone for April is the diamond which symbolizes innocence.

    Topics: Calendar, History, Months, April

    10 Reasons Why April Is And Always Will Be The Best Month

    There are twelve months in a year but there is one month that is better than the rest. Can you guess which one? If you said April, you’re right! If you didn’t say April, well. . . You’re wrong. You are probably wondering why you’re wrong; you are probably thinking to yourself “there is no way I am wrong! ___ is the best month, not April!” Well, let me explain to you.

    1. The birthstone is a diamond.

    The diamond is one the hardest substances on Earth. Diamond comes from the Greek word adamas which means “untamable”. It is said that diamonds are supposed to bring balance and clarity to anyone who owns one. It also symbolizes eternal love.

    2. The flowers of the month are daisies and sweet peas.

    The daisy symbolizes innocence and purity while the sweet pea signifies blissful pleasure.

    3. There are 3 holidays in April.

    There is April Fools Day, Easter, and Earth Day. That is a lot of holidays for one month! April is just extra appreciative!

    4. April has the best Zodiac signs.

    If you were born between April 1st – April 19th, you are an Aries. (Side note: The Aries Zodiac actually starts March 21st, but that is not important right now). The sign of an Aries is a Ram, which is considered to be a sun (fire) sign and ruled by the planet and Roman God of War: Mars.

    If you were born between April 20th – April 30th, you are a Taurus. (Side note: The Aries Zodiac actually ends May 20th, but like I said earlier: not important). The sign of a Taurus is a Bull, which is considered to be an Earth sign ruled by the planet and Roman Goddess of Love: Venus.

    5. April is Jazz Appreciation Month.

    Jazz is such a beautiful genre of music! It is so calming and exciting at the same time. I am glad that something appreciates Jazz music.

    6. April is known by different names.

    Aprills means “to open”, which the Romans thought was a good fit for April considering this is the month when the trees and flowers begin to bloom. April is also derived from the Latin word aperit which also means “to open”. The Greeks named April Aphros, which is named after Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love.

    7. Professional baseball starts in April.

    Who doesn’t love baseball?

    8. April has some of the best weather.

    April is during the season of Spring, which happens to be the best season. It is not too hot and it is not too cold. You can get a little bit of rain and a bit of sun on the same day and be able to appreciate the rainbows.

    9. April has the Coachella Festival.

    For those who don’t know, the Coachella Festival, usually just known as “Coachella” is a music festival located in Coachella, California. This is about 30 minutes from Palm Springs, California. This music festival brings in people from all over the world. Granted, the festival has gotten a bit lame performer wise as the years go by, but nonetheless, still a cool music festival to go to.

    10. April is the month of my birthday.

    Now, this may make me a little bias, but aw well. I just so happened to be born in the greatest month ever so consider me lucky!

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