April Gardening Tips

We wait, with keen anticipation, through January and February, the blooming of daffodils, the signals of Spring.  First, the dwarf varieties like Narcissus jonquilla and bulbocodium and then the full-sized plants.  All too soon, by April, we are dead- heading spent flowers and leaving the leaves to feed the bulbs for next year. Pheasant’s eye narcissi flower later, into April, and extend the season with their delicate, pale, scented blooms.

My favourite flowers this Winter have been irises; Iris unguiculata (shown below) has been flowering since November and will continue until April; February and March bring on the dwarf irises like I.reticulata.  In April, Dutch irises, bearded irises (shown at the end) and the tall elegant I.sibirica put on a show.  They all like a light soil and to be baked in the Summer sun. All except the dwarf varieties make good cut flowers and have a delicate scent.


It is the time to get the kitchen garden going, now the soil is warming up.

  • You can sow beans, carrots, chard, brassicas, beetroot and peas outside, and pumpkins, courgettes and sweetcorn under glass.
  • In preparation for the beans, dig a deep trench and line it with newspaper and fill it with compost to hold moisture. Then erect a bean frame of hazel poles or bamboos for support.  Twiggier pea sticks will help the peas.
  • At the beginning of April, plant early potatoes and work through to main crop by the end of the month. But watch the weather forecasts for frost warnings – my potatoes and beans were caught out last year!

In the ornamental garden:

  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs like Eucomis, gladioli, lilies and Nerine.
  • Pot up dahlia tubers
  • Prune early-flowering shrubs like Forsythia and Chaenomeles (Japanese quince)
  • Renovate Camellias, Euonymus, Photinia by hard pruning, and Hebe, Fatsia, Mahonia to well-placed lower growth. Prune Cotinus (smoke bush) if you want large leaves but no flowers.
  • Feed roses with a specialist rose fertiliser or a general fertiliser like bone meal or ‘Growmore’.


The lawn

If your lawn is no longer a pond, repair bumps and hollows by peeling back the turf and adding or removing soil.  Apply a Spring lawn weed and feed (warning: more feed means greener grass but more mowing!)

If you think a wild flower meadow is less arduous, you might be wrong – refer to RHS.org.uk.

Happy Easter