At last the clocks have gone forward, and you start to think about your small garden tips, the evenings are lighter and the soil is warming up, things are beginning to grow.  The first blossoms have come out giving our hedgerows and gardens a big burst of colour.  But don’t be tempted to put out any tender bedding just yet, Jack Frost could still be about!!

By now the daffodils, narcissus and other spring flowering bulbs have been giving us a colourful spectacle, so if you haven’t already done so, a bit of a deadheading may be needed, but don’t cut off the leaves, these will continue to photosynthesise and give the bulbs their nutrients for next year, let them die back naturally.

Keep deadheading pansies, primulas and other spring flowering plants, pansies will carry on into late spring or even early summer if looked after properly.

April is a good month to use your small garden tips to sow/lay new lawns and repair damaged patches, make sure it isn’t to cold and wet as germination could be poor.  This is also the best month to apply lawn weedkiller, follow the instructions carefully and accurately, I have heard many a story of ‘a scorched lawn’!!   Or why not go totally natural and sow a wild flower meadow!!

Continue mulching and howing boarders so weeds like bittercress and groundsel don’t take hold, they can be such a nuiscence and spread like wildfire.  And if you are unfortunate enough to have ground elder in your garden, then its time to get the weedkiller out.  Be careful not to disturb up and coming perennials and its probably a good idea to get supports inplaice for the taller ones, such as delphiniums and foxgloves, before you know it they will be at full height.

Hardy annuals can be sown in the greenhouse now, as can half-hardy summer bedding plants such as marigolds, lobelia and petunias.  If (like me) you started early in March or even February, then its likely some plants are large enough now to go out.  Sweet peas can be sown straight outside this month and why not try something a bit different and sow annual grasses, ‘Hares Tail’ grass is a good choice.  In fact, April is the month to sow just about everything.

Keep feeding the birds but remember, the chicks are hatching, so small sized pieces only as the mother will be feeding them.  If you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs visiting your garden, be sure to put out extra food for them, they will be waking up after hibernation and probably a little ravenous!!

While still thinking about small garden tips for your garden, if you have a pond and would like to make it a bit more ‘wildlife friendly’, try adding our native marsh marigold, putting it as close to the edge as possible and make one end quite shallow allowing wildlife to come and go with ease.  Clear our any muck and debris from the bottom and if you have fish, start feeding them when the water temperature rises and they look a little more active.  Try not to disturb frogspawn, if you have any?

Continue planting new trees and shrubs but if you want to move and transplant large specimens, be quick as time is running out.  Their is still plenty of time to continue pruning evergreens and if you have Forsythia in your garden then it should be just about finished flowering so now is the best time to prune them.

As we all know, April is the ‘rainy month’ but don’t be fooled, keep an eye on those containers and planters, the wind can dry them out quickly and if they are in sheltered positions the rain can miss them.

Remember, some of us have plants inside the house  and as the evenings are lighter and the temperature rises our houseplants are about to spring into action aswell, start watering them a little more frequently and treat them to a good spring feed.

As Mothers day has been and gone, I suspect a few of us have some new additions to the house in the form of orchids, don’t panic!!!! they are easier than you think.  The trick to watering an orchid is simple, once a week put the orchid under the tap and thoroughly drench it, let the excess water drain away and pop it back on the windowsill, job done.  For best results an orchid should only be put on either an east or west facing windowsill, the south is far to hot and the north is far to dark.

So lastly, as you look out upon your garden and wonder where on earth to begin, take a moment to enjoy the birds singing their melodies and just look at the beauty that Mother nature has given us……………………………then bring your head back down to earth, put on your gardening gloves and just get stuck in.

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