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Monthly Jobs for April

 

By Bryony

 

April marks the unmistakable appearance of spring. Everywhere we look the borders are bulging with daffodils, tulips and a myriad of other spring flowers. This uplifts the spirits and makes us feel lighter too, perhaps thanks to the extra hour of daylight British Summer Time provides (more time to spend outside). April is often the first real opportunity for us to get outside for a good length of time and ‘get gardening’. The abundance of April showers combined with longer days mean that the garden gets a growth boost this month. This exponential growth in all aspects means it is time to pick up the trowel and dust off the mower.

Look to the Lawn

 

If you have not already done so, then now would be a good time to give the lawn its first cut of the year. Mow with the blades on a high setting as it is better to trim little and often, this will stimulate lush, thick growth and avoid catching any late emerging insects which overwinter in the thatch. If there seems to be lots of moss or dead grass in the lawn, then go over it with a lawn rake to remove the unwanted material and let light and air through the lawn, making room for new growth too (put the moss in a corner of the garden for the birds to use as nest building materials if you are able). An application of nitrogen rich feed will give your lawn a good boost in April - try our Lawn Perfect feed – used with the spray application it is easy way to make your lawn the envy of your neighbours.

Weed it out

 

We know that it barely needs mentioning that weeds will be a feature of our gardens this month. Their seeds and root spores can lay dormant in the soil through the winter until they are awoken in the spring by heat, light, and water. To save yourself from fighting a losing battle it is far more manageable to weed in frequent, short bursts – nobody wants to lose a whole Sunday to the weeds, do they? Most need removing completely from the garden, although some, such as nettles and comfrey, make excellent, rich plant feed so if you want an excuse to leave a weed or two then consider doing so in order to utilise them later – there are several ‘recipes’ to choose from we like this one the most https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/maintain-the-garden/how-to-make-comfrey-feed/ .

Plug plants

 

By now you most likely have plans for your pots, hanging baskets and bedding plants. An economically friendly way (for your purse and time) to fill your garden is to buy plug plants and grow them on. Also called ‘young plants’ on our website, they are grown in ideal conditions to start them off and are more readily transportable because of their volume. Sizing from 3-6" perfectly proportioned for delivery by post for you to pot on until the roots are strong enough and frost has passed. You will find thousands of beautiful plants befitting your garden in our Blissful Bedding and Inspiration Sensations catalogues or on the website where you can search for exactly what you need at the click of a button. A couple of our favourites this year are ‘Fabulous Scaevola Fantasy’ for a delicate pastel combination of diminutive yet stunning flowers and ‘Sensual Summerdaze Collection’ which will give an ethereal look of white from cosmos and zesty lime foliage of the Ammi and antirrhinum. We have also noticed that the big thing in bedding plants for summer 2022 is ‘Anagallis monellii 'Skylover'; a true-blue flower which will creep through the beds or trail over the sides of baskets and pots to pretty up your outside spaces.

Fill in the gaps

 

Now things are starting to fill out in the borders you will get a sense of which perennials are growing too big and need dividing or pruning and where there are gaps in other areas that need planting up. A straightforward way to solve both problems is to lift and divide perennials into smaller plants by pulling them carefully to separate the roots. Those with more substantial roots can be separated with a sharp spade or a saw - it sounds brutal although the plant will be unharmed and ultimately grateful for the rejuvenation. Alternatively, hardy annuals can be directly planted into gaps in borders once you are sure the risk of frost has passed - ‘Cosmos’ and ‘Calendula’ are just a couple of reliable performers.

Cutting back

 

Most plants will have been pruned earlier in the year to avoid pruning new growth. You may still have hydrangeas in need of pruning as they should wait until around now to be cut back. With a sharp clean pair of secateurs cut back to a new pair of shoots budding on the stems. Bear in mind that the harder a hydrangea is cut back the larger the flower heads will be, although the quantity will be less. Irises which have finished flowering now can also be cut back, whilst daffodils should retain their foliage for as long as possible so they can nourish the bulb. Do deadhead the flowers though as allowing them to produce seed will take energy away from the bulb.



Beware of pests

Along with the aforementioned weeds, the persistent April showers bring the awakening of garden pests, namely slugs and snails, as well as aphids and other pesky pests. You can protect your plants in a number of ways - slugs and snails can be easily deterred by wool pellets for a sustainable solution and nematodes are a tried and tested way to keep many pests at bay. For aphids and black fly try a diluted washing up liquid solution in a spray bottle to keep them off the lupins and roses.

  

Herbal Remedy

 

April is a good time to establish an herb garden for the coming year – extending the ‘lock-down’ craze for ‘grow-your-own’ and providing you with the freshest, tastiest of herbs. Many can even be grown in the UK as perennials - rosemary grows very well either in the ground or pot in free draining soil and is perfect to partner with Easter dishes this month. What is more the flowers, which appear in neat blue/purple clusters, are incredibly popular with bees. Mint is also a stalwart of the herb garden and so versatile in its uses from cooking to cut sprigs which provide a refreshing tisane or garnish. We would advise constraining its growth, either in a pot or with some form of barrier as it tends to run riot if not confined. Look to our ‘Flavourful Herb Collection’ for both of these partnered with Oregano – perfect for any Mediterranean dish.

 

Whatever you decide to do in the garden this month will be worth it – both for the garden and for yourself. By getting outside and doing these jobs we are welcoming in spring, and anticipating summer, where we can enjoy our spaces, the fresh air and nature in all its splendour.

 

Happy spring gardening Haylofters!

If, for any reason you are not delighted with your purchase, just return it to us within 21 days.

We promise to exchange the item or return the price you paid for the item in full. This is in addition to your statutory rights.

Hayloft Plants will not agree to refunding the costs of returning the parcel to us.

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