For me, April is always the time of year when I start to enjoy getting out in the garden – the weather is sunnier, the work is more productive, and there are more pretty plants in bloom. The garden still looks a little bare, but all the signs of the promise of the season to come are there.
I realised that in my previous garden posts, I’ve chosen only to show snippets of plants, rather than our garden as a whole, principally as the garden is not looking it’s most impressive right now. But I think it’s helpful to get a sense of the space as a whole, so I’m being brave and sharing a few full length shots with you here! As you can see, we still have all our garden furniture covered until a bit later in the year when the chance of frost has passed.
The Raised Beds
Last month we made great progress on lots of my garden projects, the main one being my raised bed which we’ve finally constructed, and filled with soil and compost. I’ve planted half of it up with onion sets, and the other half is reserved for my leek seedlings which are growing indoors (assuming any of them make it to the planting out stage!). As soon as we filled it with soil, the local fox decided it was some kind of litter tray, so my ingenious solution has been the rather ugly garden netting and brick combo you can see in the picture below. To the side are some potato planting bags which I’ve set up too – I’m hoping for a good crop for our winter Sunday roasts!
Plants in bloom
I don’t have many early blooming plants, but our muscari is a welcome flash of colour amongst the green leaves of the lupins and allium which are still a long way off blooming.
And our first potted tulips are up, and very fancy they are too! Tulipa Angelique – a double flowering tulip, and one I didn’t expect to bloom until much later in the spring. Hopefully the others will be along to join them soon, and luckily I only seem to have lost one to the slugs! A small victory for me. One of our peonies is showing great signs already too – I think they’re so pretty when they push up out of the ground from nowhere.
A Perfect Lawn?
I’ve never been hugely fussed about having a perfect lawn. The effort required just doesn’t really fit with my more laid back, natural approach to gardening. But that said, our lawn is not looking the best – it tends to be quite damp, so moss has crept in over the winter. We also have lots of ‘dips’ and hills’, especially in the back part of the garden, which has always been a bit more neglected. My plan for April is to tackle this – we’ve just bought a lawn rake (didn’t own one before!), and I’m planning to rake out the moss (we really should have done this back in the Autumn, but I figure now is better than leaving it) and we’ll apply a lawn fertiliser to hopefully get it back to looking like new. We’re also going to fill in the dips, and sow need seed to hopefully achieve more of a flat lawn. So it’ll look a lot worse for a while, but hopefully we’ll achieve something much prettier by the end of the season.
Unfortunately I seem to have lost 3 of my lavender plants that I was hoping would form a hedge along our patio. Unsurprising perhaps, as they got an inadvertent dousing with soapy water by my husband last year and we weren’t sure if they’d make it. Turns out, they didn’t! I’m thinking about going with some Nepeta (catmint) instead, but I’m very open to ideas if any of you have some suggestions for this space.
The one job I’m so excited to do is to unveil all the garden furniture and clean it ready to use this year! We didn’t get as much use out of it as we’d hoped last year, so I’m really keen to get out there this time round.
Jobs for the garden in April
- Feed trees and shrubs with a general purpose fertiliser. Add a generous mulch of compost around hungry shrubs, which will act as a weed suppressant, and allow the soil to retain moisture, as well as providing nutrients to the plant.
- It’s the best time now to lift and divide most perennials. The cheapest way to get new plants from your garden – just lift them up, then split apart with two forks, and there you have it – two new plants!
- If your lawn isn’t looking in the best of condition (ours certainly isn’t!), now is the time for lawn repair. Sow new lawn, or repair bare patches.
- Tie in climbing and rambling roses
- Provide support for plants that will need it now, so that the plants grow up through them. Our peonies definitely require support, as do my lupins.
- Cut the spent flowers from daffodills but leave the leaves so that the energy goes back into the bulb for next year.
- Plant out chitted potatoes, either in the ground, or in grow bags. I’ve bought 3 potato grow bags that each have two Maris Pipers in, and I’m hoping we’ll have a good crop come the Autumn.