RHS Tips and Advice for April
RHS tips this month
- Protect fruit blossom from late frosts.
- Tie in climbing and rambling roses.
- Start to feed citrus plants.
- Sow new lawns or repair patches.
- Hardy annuals can be sown outdoors.
Environment team tips for April
- Don’t forget to put on sunblock, even in April.
- Try to keep on top of weeds.
- Check shrubs, hedges etc for nesting birds before any work is done on them.
- Get your hands into the soil. It has known anti-depressant qualities.
- Use 7up drink to prolong the life of cut flowers.
April used to be a month when daffodils would be in full bloom. Most had gone over before this month had started. The mild winter and excessive rainfall has seen some cutting the grass in February on the odd dry day. Weeds have been the biggest beneficiaries of the longer growing season, along with ash and sycamore seedlings. The sooner we get the hoe out the better!
This is the time of year we start feeding our plants. Please don’t overfeed as this is a waste of money and the excess will find its way into water courses and could affect wildlife.
Remove any faded flowers from spring flowering bulbs but don’t cut the leaves down until they die back, as they are the energy source for the bulb. Hanging basket enthusiasts will be planting up this month. Kenny Condick, a Cardiff in bloom competitor of the past, would never put a basket outside until June 1st. The longer you’re patient the better the basket. Sweet peas sown last year can still be planted this month along with some seeds to prolong the season. If you’re really keen to get a good display then Mr Crump, who took part in the Wenvoe Open Garden Day last year, is the man to see. Climbing and rambling roses will need to be tied in now. Try to keep the stems as horizontal as possible; this will slow the sap down, give you more side shoots and consequently more flowers. Last October the family at Belgrave house in Wenvoe gave instruction to staff, that some of the older roses should be cut right back to just above ground level. There was a slight concern as to the recovery capacity of the said roses. I have now been informed that they came through a very wet winter and are healthy with new growth.
Spring is a good time to try layering. A propagation technique such as this is an easy way of getting more of your favourite shrubs and climbers. Just make a small wound on a flexible stem near a bud and peg it into the soil next to the plant. When it has taken root, just cut away from parent plant and pot up. Clematis and honeysuckle are good for this type of layering. RHS has a very good explanation of the different ways of layering on its website.
Take care and happy gardening.