Things To Do Instead Of Tax Returns?
Always looking to bring our readers something new, I thought that there must be better things to do rather than rush to complete those key tasks before the end of the tax year.
On that thought, the great Marie Shalcross came up with things you could be doing in the garden. Think of it as preparing the ‘outside office’ before the next stinking hot summer…
Hope you enjoy!
We’ve had Easter weekends where BBQs and paddling pools are necessary and others where it’s been snowing; as gardeners we learn to expect the unexpected…
Gardening tasks for April
You may have bought and planted your spring flowering bulbs last autumn. If not, don’t despair, use it as a reason to go and search out some new-to-you varieties that someone else has grown.
You can transplant these into your own pots; taking care to lift with plenty of soil around the roots. Water well and remember they may wilt initially and pause in their growth for a few days.
Start the pest watch – aphids & red spider mite in the greenhouse or on indoor plants; rosemary beetle on Rosemary, Lavender and Santolina outside. Encourage beneficial insect predators like ladybirds to do some of your work for you; use organic sprays and pesticides.
Have you been to the hairdressers recently? Those hair clippings are useful to dissuade slugs from eating young Hosta shoots if you spread them around the young plant.
Use cardboard tubes to sow your sweet peas, runner beans, mange tout; this gives them a longer root run and the whole thing can be planted in the ground later, reducing shock to the young plant.
Seed sowing – keep your newly sown seeds and seedlings in trays moist but not too damp to reduce risk of ‘damping off’ disease (where they all keel over). Sowing thinly helps too, as the new seedlings then have plenty of air and light.
Raised beds and borders are brilliant for creating decorative vegetable gardens, but did you know they’re also an excellent way of growing acid loving plants when you have an alkaline soil?
Even a large camellia will be happy in raised bed with the correct soil and it will be easier for you to maintain in good health than in a smaller pot.
Easter weekend is a prime time to go shopping at the plant nursery or garden centre; so you may find our blog on what to look for when buying plants helpful to read first.
Design ideas for April
If you bought flowering bulbs as above, plant them in pots, one variety to each pot. Group the pots in 3s or 5s. As each earlier flowering plant dies back and looks tatty, replace with a fresh, later flowering bulb.
For example, Narcissus (daffodil) ‘Winston Churchill’ flowers March / April; creamy flowers speckled with orange and apricot. An appropriate daffodil to try in 50th anniversary year of Churchill’s funeral. Replace with a pot of Narcissus ‘Silver chimes’, flowers April / May, with creamy blooms and a buttermilk yellow trumpet.
Colour – orange is often a forgotten colour in the early spring garden, but it adds a warming lift to cloudy days and stands out against evergreen shrubs
Scent – both these flowers are scented, so place them near your front door or by a sunny seat to enjoy to the full!
By Marie Shallcross
Garden Designer, Gardening Teacher, Garden Writer
Plews Garden Design and Landscaping
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