David Hurrion’s April Tips
Award winning Garden writer David Hurrion’s top tips for April.
Roses need to be pruned before they make too much growth. Cut back the stems of bush roses to 4-5 buds from the base, pruning to a bud that faces out of the centre of the bush.
Seedlings benefit from being separated out and potted into their own compost to grow on more strongly. This process is called ‘pricking out’ and I like to use these cellular trays putting one seedling into each section.
Spring-flowering bedding plants, like polyanthuses, will go on to produce more flowers if you remove the old blooms as soon as they start to fade. Pinch them out between thumb and forefinger, or use a pair of small scissors to snip them off.
Newly planted perennials and shrubs will benefit from a good soaking in dry weather, especially if it hasn’t rained for a couple of weeks. This will help them get established with a good root system for the summer ahead.
Some of the hardier vegetables and salad leaves such as carrots, beetroot and rocket can be sown outdoors now, directly into the garden soil. Cover them with a cloche if you have one, to speed up germination.
Patios and paths could do with a clean now. After a winter of rain, they will have moss and algae growing on their surface which can be slippery in the wet. Use a stiff brush and plenty of water to scrub them clean.
Weeds grow just as well as your other plants at this time of year and can soon compete for water and food. Look out for seedlings of weeds and pull them out by hand or with a hand fork.
Climbing plants need coaxing to grow in the direction that you want them to, so keep an eye on the new growth and tie it in loosely to its supports using soft garden string.
Spring bulbs will have been in full bloom for at least the last month or so. As soon as they start to shrivel it’s time to remove the flower heads, but don’t cut back the leaves as these will make food to bulk up the bulbs underground ready for next year’s display. Instead let the foliage die back naturally, only removing it when it starts to turn yellow in about six weeks’ time.
Lilies are a real treat in the summer garden, so pot up some bulbs to start the growth indoors. Remember that lily bulbs can cause an allergic skin reaction in some people, so wear gloves as a precaution when handling them.