April Jobs – Are we the only people to have actually used our outdoor garden furniture so far this year?
We may be outdoor furniture obsessed, but the weather’s been fabulous, and we’ve enjoyed a spot of al fresco dining on more than one occasion. If you haven’t yet set the parasol and got your cushions out round your metal outdoor table, shame on you!
The curse of the garden furniture business is that just as the phones start to go crazy with orders as the whole world wakes up to the warmer weather, so the natural world starts to go crazy too. Suddenly everything’s bursting into life and there are 101 jobs to attend to. Here are some pointers:
April Jobs – Watering.
Might seem crazy but you need to water in any newly planted shrubs and perennials since the extended dry spell will really make them suffer.
April Jobs – Perennials.
Divide these now and water in well. This is a great time to split clumps of primroses and polyanthus. Replant them in ground refreshed with compost. Stake or support any taller plants that will flop around later in the season.
April Jobs – Pest Control.
This is the time to go on the offensive. Spray your roses against black spot. Take action against slugs and snails – my personal favourite is Slug Gone recycled wool pellets. These work by forming an uncomfortable surface for the slugs to crawl over. Once the pellets have been spread over a surface (in my case, all the potted hostas), they expand with watering to form a carpet with the added benefit that they reduce moisture loss and suppress weeds. Eventually, they degrade releasing plant nutrients into the soil.
April Jobs – Haircuts.
When you’re planning the family back-to-school haircuts after the Easter Holidays, remember that your grey-leaved plants could do with a trim too, to keep them looking bushy. Also take the shears to your heathers.
April Jobs – Climbers.
Tie in the new growth.
April Jobs – Prune.
Attend to early flowering shrubs, and those grown for their leaf colour (such as cotinus). Take some of the old wood out of forsythia now with a plan to cover the whole plant in a three year cycle. Thin out flowering shoots of lacecap and mop-head hydrangeas, cutting some older growth back to ground level. Prune hardy fuschias down to ground level.
April Jobs – Tidy.
Deadhead your daffs! This will stop them wasting energy on seed production – you want all their efforts going back into fat bulbs. Weed now while plants are small. Take a look at the lawn and reseed /turf any bald patches. Remember to plant the right sort of grass for your particular needs. Shady lawns will need a higher percentage of coarse rye grass while sheep’s fescue will do well in dry environments. Feed established lawns.
Looking ahead. Time to plant summer flowering bulbs. Sow sweet peas.
April Jobs – In the Veg Patch.
Potatoes – these can go in now if you’ve chitted them properly. Raspberry are shallow-rooted so hoe carefully round them to remove weeds without causing damage to the plants. Spread straw around strawberry plants and remove the runners.