Garden Maintenance in April is all about clearing up the debris of the winter and getting ready for the Summer with lots of sowings and plantings. It’s still too early to rule out any frosts as they can catch you unawares at this time of year, especially if you have had a few warm days as we have in the last week. We spent the weekend clearing and cleaning up our vegetable beds but it is time to start looking at the more decorative aspects of the garden as well.
When Spring comes you can see that there are a lot of hidden corners which hold dead leaves and the shoots of weeds nestling underneath them. You need to be really vigilant about getting all the rubbish out and clearing away those unwanted plants before they have time to flower and seed. Somehow they always seem to be ahead of everything else and to survive those sharp frosts. On of the most important garden maintenance jobs is just to get out there with a rake, shovel and broom to gather up all the loose bits and pieces so you can see what needs doing.
A good session weeding borders and patio pots will never go amiss in April. You can generally spot what needs repotting into a larger home, or what needs feeding and a bit of TLC. Whilst it might not be technically the right time for pruning, there are few plants that don’t benefit from a tidy up after the winter. You can see what has been damaged and remove it before it does active harm to the plant. We have had a very severe winter this year and lots of things needed a bit of grooming to help them along.
Deadheading Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths and other flowering bulbs needs to be done, but leave the foliage to help the bulb for next year. I like to just firm them in a little as well if the soil has moved away from the stems as a result of weather. Pansies and other winter flowering bedding need tidying up too.
If you have herbacious perennials that need splitting now is the time to do it. A herbacious perennial is a plant that has soft green stems and that usually dies back in the winter – but they come back stronger than ever in the spring. Penstemons and Hostas are among my favorites.
If you live in a mild or sheltered are, you can start to sow annuals outdoors, or into trays for summer bedding plants. Petunias, Lobelia, Nasturtiums can go into seed trays indoors now. My favorite of all, Sweet Peas can be sown outdoors now, do make sure you have adequate support for them as they grow so quickly. Whilst you are in the planting mode, and there are some open areas of soil, it is a good time to plant summer bulbs as well.