Yes, weeding is number one as it is the most important. The weeds are just getting going really well. As the weather warms up and all our favourite plants start to grow so do the weeds. At the moment they are small and come up easily as the ground is wet. Also, they have not had time to flower and seed (and multiply). It is not a very exciting task but you will benefit all year from doing a good bit of weeding now.
2) Seeds and seedlings
Now is the time to be sowing many seeds, either in the garden or in seed trays under glass. Check your seed packets and plant them at the right time. I have planted borage, lavender, tomato and marigold seeds on my windowsills. Check all the instructions on the packet to maximise success. It is very demoralising when seeds fail completely. Most seed companies offer money back guarantees now so you should be successful. Do not keep seeds too long either as old seeds are often not very successful.
Seedlings then need potting on into larger containers,preferably individually. I am using paper plant pots that I made from newspaper. Full instructions are on an earlier post. Many seedlings can not go outside until all frosts have passed so again, check the packet or online.
If you order your plug plants through the post then these need potting on into individual pots as soon as they arrive. These need growing on before planting out unless you order garden ready plants and these normally arrive later in the season.
3) Cut back buddleia
If, like me, you cut back your buddleia plants in the autumn but not very hard, now is the time to cut them back hard. I have a large, old buddleia which has been allowed to get out of hand. I have cut it back hard but I was nervous about cutting it right back to the ground so I have left the main trunk, as you can see. Last year the flowers on this plant were about 10 feet high so we did not enjoy then as much as we should, hence the hard pruning. The picture on the right is what I am hoping for later in the year!
4) Sweet pea planting
If you planted sweet pea seeds in the autumn then now is the time to plant them out. Make sure you harden them off gradually and then plant them out with something suitable to grow up. They do not need tying in as they grow but they do need something to wrap their tendrils around. I am using an obelisk covered with netting. If you want to you can plant seeds directly in the ground but I have only ever had limited success with that. Seedlings grown indoors and then planted out are the most successful. You can also buy pots of sweet pea seedlings at the garden centre if you have not grown your own.
5) Improve lawns
Now is the time to do any work on your lawns that you need to do. I have given mine their first mow and I have treated them with weed and feed. Once that has taken effect I will scarify them both to remove all the dead moss, thatch and weeds. I use an old lawn mower with scarifier attachments on the blades but I have used a lawn rake in the past. It is hard work (a great workout). It will look a mess for a couple of weeks but it will really benefit in the long run. If you are organic you can just scarify the lawn without using a treatment. I will also edge the lawns to make them look tidy. It is the quickest way to give your garden an instant lift.
6) Sort out planters
If you have any planters planted up now is the time to assess them. I had a broken pot and I needed to move the plant (a pieris) out of it. I also had a pot with a dead plant in it (too much frost and snow). So, I removed the dead plant and replaced it with the plant from the broken pot.
Check all your pots and planters and start planning for the summer.
7) Fences and patios
Look honestly at your fences and patios, if you have any. I am busy treating some fence panels and a garden bench to make them look nicer and to maintain them a bit longer.
I have also cleaned my patio with a hosepipe and a stiff brush. You may have a pressure washer and be able to get yours really clean! The tasks may not all be exciting but it is all about getting ready for long summer days in the garden!
Take time to sit back and look at the spring garden. Don’t be too busy to see what is there now. Enjoy the pretty flowers that are already here and the fresh spring greens as the leaves appear everywhere. Spring greens are very bright and fresh. April is the main time for emerging leaves. Enjoy!
The daffodils are still going strong in many gardens. They are just finishing off in mine!
The hellebores are also still looking lovely. They have been flowering for weeks. An excellent value plant! Notice the tiny pulmonaria flowers in the background.
These are some beautiful delicate tulips that I planted in the autumn. When the sun comes round onto them they open into beautiful star shapes.
These are two more stars of the show. The hyacinths seem to be just keeping on flowering. The primula denticulata is so small but beautiful and a real joy to find.
So get outside in April and do all your gardening jobs but make time to enjoy the garden now.
Blink and you miss it!