April gardening tips
Bulbs, flowers and containers
Protect new spring shoots from frosts and slugs.
Split clumps of snowdrops by digging them up, gently pulling them apart into bunches of 3 or more bulbs and replanting in dug over soil with some bonemeal incorporated into it. Make sure you work quickly so the bulbs don’t have a chance to dry out, and water in if the soil is at all dry.
Sprinkle general purpose fertiliser on beds and borders and erect supports for herbaceous plants such as peonies, delphiniums and oriental poppies that would otherwise flop. Make your own using hazel or birch twigs for a natural look that will fade into the border as your plants grow.
Carry on lifting and dividing overgrown clumps of perennials and split polyanthus plants once they have finished flowering.
Plant hardier summer bulbs and unsprouted dahlia tubers (at least 4 inches deep in good, rich soil).
Sow hardy annuals such as nasturtium and calendula in drifts - clashing colours just don’t matter in a garden, but remember to plant taller plants behind shorter ones. Wait a while to plant cornflowers and larkspurs until the soil is warmer.
Sow sweet peas outdoors (soak the seeds overnight to improve germination) and plant out those raised under cover.
Feed your pots and containers and brighten them up with cheery primroses, violas, pots of spring bulbs and spring heathers. Packing them densely in single colours makes for a stunning display - or try combinations like cream and regal purple for a striking impact.
Summer bedding is now available in the centres as young plants for you to grow on - much easier than growing from seed or cuttings. Remember though, do not be beguiled by the odd warm day - frost will wreack havoc with these plants unless protected and slowly hardened off.
If the weather really does turn dry, remember pots and containers will need watering, especially if they are near a wall and in a sheltered position. Take care not to overwater.