April in the garden

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Just because spring is trying to do a vanishing act this year doesn’t mean April in the garden is an easy ride. There’s a whole host of jobs to be done in preparation for the growing season (once it finally gets underway). And it’s the time of year my husband dreads – yes, it’s the start of grass cutting!

Weed, feed, mulch

Last month we sowed a lot of our flower and vegetable seeds into module pots and trays to grow on in the house on window ledges and in the greenhouse. This month it’s time to prepare the soil for outdoor seed sowing towards the end of April.

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One sure sign of spring is the emergence of weeds.Β  I’ve noticed a LOT of weeds where I want to grow my beans, peas, carrots and radishes, and my poppies and other wildflowers. Once they’ve been removed I can feed and mulch the soil, either with some chicken manure pellets (warning, they STINK!) or some used coffee grounds (I mentioned this on Twitter a while ago). Tip: if you live near a Starbucks or Costa, ask them for their used coffee grounds to sprinkle over your weed-free soil. It puts nitrogen back into the earth, which is just what growing crops need. And, it’s free!Β  After that, just spread some compost over the top to act as a mulch or protective cover.

The soil is probably still a little too cold for direct seed sowing so if you don’t have any polytunnels (like me) then you can spread some black bin liners over the ground and weigh them down with stones.Β  After a couple of weeks your soil will have warmed up enough for direct seed sowing.

Top dress your pots

When I first heard this term I had absolutely no idea what it meant. I had visions of fancy throws and bunting πŸ™‚ Actually, all it means is adding fresh compost to any outdoor pots as your plants will have exhausted the nutrients in last year’s compost by now. To keep them growing happily, scoop out the top 10cm of old soil and top up with fresh compost. If you’re feeling generous you could pop some coffee grounds in as well.

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Divide perennials

Now is the time to lift and divide any large clumps of perennials such as hostas, irises, euphorbia, geraniums, primroses, or salvias.Β  There are a couple of reasons for this: division every two to three years helps to maintain plant health and vigour, and it’s also an easy way to get new plants for free.Β  Lift your plant(s) with a garden fork and either tease them apart, or cut through the middle with a spade.Β  Then simply replant each plant with fresh compost.

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Plant lilies and gladioli

I’m mentioning lilies because now is the best time to plant them in pots for summer colour and scent. But I won’t be doing this because lily pollen is poisonous to cats. If the pollen falls on their fur and they lick it off, it will kill them. I’m aware Gardeners World’s Monty Don raises both cats and lilies but I’m not prepared to take that risk with my furbabies.

Gladioli on the other hand are not poisonous and I will be planting some white, purple, and green flowering ones, for cutting and displaying around our house in summer.

Plant supports and tying in

April is the month to start putting in plant supports for your beans, sweet peas, clematis, and any other climbing flower or vegetable. Having cried over the devastation an unexpectedly fierce summer wind wreaked on my annual flower beds a couple of years ago, it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.Β  The easiest way to support tall climbers is to create a wigwam of bamboo canes and gently tie in your plants to them as they start to grow up.

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One job I’m not looking forward to is tying in my roses. We have a gloriously fragrant, rambling Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose that scrambles through our peach tree but it has a lot of thorns. My hands and arms will bear the scars for a fair few days after I’ve tied in the shoots to the branches.

Garden furniture

If your garden furniture was left outside to fend for itself over winter (like ours) then it will benefit from a wash down now. Similarly, if you have a patio (like us) then it will probably have a lot of slippery algae on it, particularly in shaded areas. This is where a power wash becomes Alan’s best friend – although Flora does love helping him, haha.

Wildlife

I’ve seen a lot of birds gathering bits and pieces for their nests so Alan is keeping their feeders topped up in readiness for the breeding season. And our ponds are absolutely crammed with frogspawn. I have never seen so much in the eight years we’ve lived here. Flora is going to have a lot of fun this summer!

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Alan is not happy that he’ll have to start mowing the lawn and orchard this month. Tip: keep the blades high for the first cut of the year, so as not to shock the grass. And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we have a LOT of bulbs that are flowering happily through the grass, so he’ll have to mow around them.Β  Last year this made for some lovely naturalised sections of ground, especially in the orchard. So, this is our April in the garden – what jobs will you be doing this month?

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Ms Via
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Wow Lisa! This is such an informative post. I love how you are enjoying nature so closely and planting so many flowers and veggies. I wish I could do this too. I did not know about the Lily pollen. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with such beautiful pictures of flowers. πŸ™‚

Via | http://glossnglitters.com

Imogen
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Imogen

I love these posts so much! I’m just trying to keep all my houseplants alive but you make me want to go hard at my mess of a garden.

Ria
Guest

Great gardening post. I am trying to be more green-fingered, so this is a lovely read. Do you have any tips for growing herbs? I cook a lot, and it would be great to have fresh herbs at my fingertips. (I also live on the top floor of an apartment block, but have a great balcony, so potentially herbs could grow there)… πŸ™‚

Jenny in Neverland
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I don’t like frogs… So frogspawn would send me in a frenzy haha! These are lovely photos – although my hay fever gets SO BAD in Spring – like seriously I don’t know many people who get hay fever worse than me – I do love seeing all the pretty colours come out finally πŸ™‚ xxx

Eena
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I love this post so much! It’s so informative πŸ™‚ I got into planting last year but haven’t been into it as much this year. Hopefully this sparks my interest again!

https://chrisandeena.com

Ellis Woolley
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I adore your gardening posts, I’m new to gardening myself so I found your tips super helpful, you really know your stuff! I always check the grounds basket at Starbucks but I must not be quick enough, I’d love some coffee for my garden! x x
Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk

Amy
Guest

Your photos are just 😍😍😍. Hope you manage to do everything you want with your garden this month, and that it doesn’t take your husband too long to mow the grass. I too am sad it’s time for their return, mainly as my neighbour is very fond of mowing theirs and it’s VERY loud 😭

Bexa
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I always love seeing your pretty flowers pop up on Instagram Lisa! Your garden always looks gorgeous! That’s a great tip about used coffee grounds to put nitrogen back into the earth. Yay for science! Fab post and beautiful photos! xx

Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

Sunkissed Scribbles
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I literally just had this conversation with my mum. I said “if we have a few days of dry weather, I’ll cut the lawn” (as it’s a bit boggy from all the rain/snow). To which she replied “I want the seeds sown too!” So I think rain or not, my weekend is going to be spent in the greenhouse! I didn’t know about the coffee grounds so thanks for the tip. I’m most looking forward to seeing the frogs, toads and newts in our garden again this year – that always cheers me up x

Sophie
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Sophie

Using used coffee grounds is such a good tip! You always make me wish i was better in the garden!- – https://sophhearts.com x

Emily
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Fab gardening post, I haven’t come across one of these before! Loving the photos of all the flowers πŸ™‚ x

Emily | thatcreativegenius.wordpress.com

Lena Dee
Guest

But no seriously! Your garden is quite beautiful Lis. I always enjoy your garden posts 😍 πŸ’ I feel like it always sheds some light to my gardening knowledge and really and truly your pics are just super nice to look at. I know you may think I’m being silly but I always look at these posts and the way your garden grows as a sense of hope with some TLC. I adore flowers and their modest beauty and I simply adore yours.

xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

Rebecca
Guest

I’ll be spending time in my garden this weekend, weeding, mowing and using the power washer on the patio! I’ve started using coffee grounds as compost, think it’s a great way of recycling! Loved reading your gardening post Lisa, very spring-like! xx

Lydia
Guest

I wish my garden looked like the photos in this post; this week it has been rainy, grey, and unpleasant outside. But I have been seeing a lot of flowers where I live, so I think this is changing πŸ˜€

Kirstie
Guest

omg, I am so jealous of your gardening skills, I wish I had the patience to grow things – I keep saying that I am going to buy a Jasmine plant, but they’re so expensive and I am scared that I will kill it. I killed my Cactus, haha!!

I bet your garden is going to look to pretty in the summer, totally inviting myself over for a tea so I can sit among the flowers!

Kate
Guest

Oh Wow! You are doing amazing at keeping up with all those different plants and flowers, I bet you feel so proud! Those daffodils look beautiful in the sunshine πŸ™‚

Kate | http://www.katelovesx.co.uk/

Bethany Jane
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Lisa I swear I learn more about gardening from your blog posts than I do from any tv show I’ve ever watched. Disappointed not to get my monthly “omg is that a tiger!?” scare though πŸ˜‰
Your roses are gorgeous, and I feel weirdly jealous of the fact you have a peach tree?! I honestly am coming round this summer, I want to sit in your garden and marvel at your hard work haha! x
Beth x http://www.adventureandanxiety.com