Your garden in April
"I quite often come back with some Quince jam late in the autumn as a present from one of my clients."
Like a pig in muck, quite literally, you will find me crawling through the flower beds on my hands and knees, pulling out the first few real sights of weeds this side of the new year.
If you have followed my instructions so far this year I hope you will find weeding quite an easy task! With the deep dig of March and the healthy helping of compost you should find the weeds are pulling out with ease.
But what about the rest of April? It does not just involve weeding, in fact April is one of the most exciting months of the year, excessive growth fills you with utopia for the year and replenishes energy levels.
The tiresome months of winter seem so far away, far away in the corners of your memory, only to be found when the hard times of the winter hit again later this year – but let’s not get ourselves down when there is so much to look forward to in the garden and fun to be had!
Right now I am looking at the breath taking displays of blossom on the fruit trees which have appeared in some of the gardens we look after. In late March and into early April they have burst into bud and will hopefully stay like it until the end of April. In my garden I have several espalier apple trees spanning my fence line, they are now 7 years old and producing their best displays of blossom since I have lived here. They are taking my eyes away from the drab fence, producing beautiful displays of white flowers and later in the year they will be a part of my favourite pudding... apple pie!
Espalier is a space-saving way of growing fruit i.e. apples and pears on a wall or fence. They require little pruning once established, are attractive in blossom and fruit and architectural in winter months.
I also have other fruit trees in the garden that are proudly showing off. There are two standalone pear trees – these tend to grow a lot slower than apple trees so you can use these as part of your garden displays. This way you know it will not take over the flower bed it resides in, it also helps that they are attractive from bark to blossom and onto fruit.
In one of my client’s gardens we have the luxury of an orchard, not only do we have all the usual suspects, we also have a plum tree. This gorgeous specimen’s fruit is virtually demolished by my dad (who works for me) and me. As we trip up and down the garden with garden waste, we don’t even leave enough for the birds to enjoy, the fruit tastes so good!
One other beautiful fruit tree you can include in your garden and one that is overlooked quite a lot these days is the Quince. The humble Quince is anything but when it comes to blossom, gorgeous white flowers are in abundance. You find the leaves are more lime in colour and the fruit is also easy on the eye, I quite often come back with some Quince jam late in the autumn as a present from one of my clients.
So April is the month of colours and growth, enjoy it when you can. I love to sit out in the lengthening spring evenings on the terrace and enjoy the garden with possibly an ice cold cider in hand!
Jobs for April
The luscious lily. Now is the time to plant your lilies, the earlier the better as well. If you plant them in early April they will get an extra few weeks of growth which should help with their display later in the year. Feel free to add a liquid feed to your watering can when you water them. (Lilies are extra special to me as my gorgeous other half is called Lily, she is my inspiration in life and the lily is my inspiration in the garden, therefore they are a must in the garden for me).
Treat your now finished flowering daffs, hyacinths, aconites and snowdrops with kid gloves. Right about now your early flowering bulbs will be going over, the leaves will be turning brown and they will look messy, they have to look messy in order for all of the nutrients to retreat into the bulb, which will feed the bulb and aid in producing a better display of flowers next year.
Also about now you will be seeing lots of growth and with that you will also see gaps in the borders where plants may have perished over the winter months. One plus point here is that you can now go buy more plants...my favourite thing to do!
Work on your ponds and water features. Finally we have a warm enough period for us to dip our hands in the water and be brave enough to venture into the ponds. I start with removing the water pump, you will need to clean the filters and check for leaks in any of the pipes. You need to lift any plant pots and trim the dead leaves/shoots and encourage a better floral display. Check for blanket weed in your water features, if you are unlucky enough to have blanket weed make sure you leave it close to the water for a few days before removing it, this will ensure you allow the creepy crawlies time to return to the water. This is essential for the habitat to return to normal and generally a nice thing to do!
Related Articles: How to plan your home renovation project (Part 2)