What to do in April

This is the time of year when everything starts to grow. Weeds will be the first to shoot up, they are a good indication of spring. The RHS spring show is in Cardiff on the 7- 9th April and is well worth a visit if only to get expert advice from gardeners who really know how it's done.

It's now time for the first lawn treatment of the year. Whichever one you buy make sure it has mosskiller in it as this past few months' weather has been ideal for moss growth. When cutting your grass early in the season please do not cut too low as this can weaken grass growth and encourage moss. Aerating a lawn is a good idea as it helps with drainage, prevents soil compaction and allows nutrients in and air to circulate. There are various types of aerators on the market but the hollow tyne ones are better. It takes a while but is well worth the time and effort. Roses now need their first feed of the year. There are many brands of rose feed to choose from and all do the same thing. Take care to follow the instructions as too much feed will produce weak, leggy growth which will not hold up the blooms.

If your lavender plants are starting to get a bit woody now is the time to take cuttings from new growth. Pick a stem without a bud, cut to finger length and strip off lower leaves before dipping in rooting powder [this will help germination but also stop cuttings rotting] and place in 3'' pots of gritty compost to help drainage. Remove any cuttings that start to look sick in order to prevent spread of disease. This technique can be used for most softwood cuttings.

Pot up dahlia tubers and begonia corms and keep in a frost free place as this will encourage growth making them ready to plant out when all risk of frost has gone. Birds are nesting now so if you can resist taking the shears to hedges and shrubs all the better. It will also keep us all on the good side of the wild life group. Feeding birds all year round is a must as they depend on well stocked tables but at this time of year loose peanuts left on bird tables are taken back to nests with young who choke on these whole nuts. Peanuts kept in bird feeders don't cause this problem as they have to be broken up for birds to retrieve.

It is true that as you get older you appreciate things more. Passing through the village in March there was a definite sense of well being at the sight of the spring flowers in bloom. The daffodils around the park and church were beautiful and the great display of crocuses on the village green were a joy to see.


Happy gardening!