With spring firmly in place and the trees starting to blossom, new growth is now showing throughout the garden. Longer, warmer days are encouraging flushes of flowers to appear, and the garden is beginning to take shape once more. There’s plenty to do in the garden at the moment, and our handy guide will keep you busy tackling pruning, tidying and sowing jobs throughout the month of April.
1. Work your vegetable garden
Dig in some well rotted manure, or compost into your vegetable beds ready for the growing season. Plant chitted potatoes in prepared beds: second earlies from early to mid-April, and maincrops mid- to late April. Harvest asparagus spears using a sharp knife, if your asparagus bed is over two years old. Direct sow beetroot, broccoli, cabbage and salad crops into prepared beds now, and take a look at our vast selection of seeds for some tasty inspiration in your planting this year.
2. Time in the greenhouse
Give your greenhouse a good clean to allow more light in, and check on seeds already planted. If some seeds are slow to grow, or you’re just short on space, then boost your crops with our ready-grown plants. We stock a good variety of tomato plants, plus a wide range of other vegetable plants, perfect for getting your vegetable garden off to a good start. Don’t forget the canes, netting, twine and plant supports ready for when your plants really get growing, which we always have readily available should you need to restock.
3. Plant hanging baskets
If you like to create your own hanging baskets, then now is a great time to think about planting up summer hanging baskets. Choose from our baskets and accessories, and get creative with our vast range of basket plants in a wide range of colours. Once planted and ready, keep under cover in the greenhouse, until all risk of frost has passed. Or leave the creative bit to us, and order one of our bespoke summer hanging baskets instead, which will be available to collect from May onwards.
4. Plant summer flowering bulbs
Boost your beds and borders this year with some of our beautiful summer flowering bulbs. Gladioli are a popular choice, as they also make an excellent cut flower. Choose a mix of colours, and plant in groups for best effect, staggering the planting of the corms to lengthen the growing season. Lilies add a wonderful show of colour, and are useful for filling gaps in your garden. Plant in containers which you can easily move around the garden to make the most of their colourful display.
5. Tame your climbers
Spring is an excellent time to plant clematis, as they have time to establish before the warmer weather arrives, but keep them well-watered especially during dry weather. Climbers such as honeysuckle, clematis, climbing and rambling roses will be starting to put on growth, so tie in stems to supports to train the plants. Browse our wide selection of plant supports such as arches, pergolas, trellises and obelisks to make the most of your garden climbers.
6. Look after container plants
When it hasn’t rained for a while, remember to start checking on plants in containers and pots to make sure they are not drying out. Water regularly to encourage new growth and healthy displays, and try moving pots that are not performing so well to a different part of your garden. To give container plants a boost, top-dress with fresh compost, or if pots are already full, remove the top 5cm, and replace with fresh compost. Replace old cracked containers with some of our beautiful frost-hardy garden pots and planters.
7. Use the rainfall
Give the environment a thought, and install a water butt (or two) to make the most of rainfall on garden sheds and greenhouses. As the warmer weather arrives, plants will need to be watered more regularly, and your new water butt will suddenly become very handy indeed. When putting into place, remember to elevate your water butt sufficiently to allow a watering can to easily be filled from its tap. Not only does this save water in the garden, but your plants will benefit from the natural rainwater too.
8. Create a herb garden
Liven up homecooking this year, with a wide range of homegrown aromatic herbs. Grow your own from seed in the greenhouse, until ready to plant out, or easily create a herb garden from our huge selection of ready-grown herbs. Herbs enjoy full sun and light, well-drained soil, so choose a suitable position in your garden for best results. Plant up pots and planters for an interesting garden feature, and position near to the house for easy harvesting at dinner time.
9. Prune, divide and plant
Prune winter flowering shrubs such as forsythia, after flowering, cutting back to strong new shoots. Trim winter flowering heathers, and prune penstemmons back to fresh new growth. Remove faded flowers on bedding plants, such as winter pansies, to prevent them setting seed and to encourage new flowers. Divide primroses after flowering and plant out into prepared beds. Fill gaps in your borders with herbaceous perennials from our wide selection, and plant in groups of threes so they look more natural and create a greater impact.
10. Prepare for a garden party
Now the sun is out, it’s time to think about the warmer evenings ahead, when you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful garden with friends and family. Update tired old garden chairs that have seen better days, and choose new seating from our range of Zest pressure-treated garden furniture. Cook some sausages on one of our new range of BBQs, or try homemade pizza in a fantastic outdoor pizza oven. Consider an Alton Summerhouse to shelter from those summer showers, which doubles up perfectly as home office space, or a garden chill-out area in-between social occasions.
It’s not as if you need an excuse to get out in the garden and tackle some jobs, but the warmer weather certainly does help! Enjoy organising your garden this April, and catch up on all those outdoor jobs whilst the sun is shining. Happy gardening everyone!