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  • Lisa McLachlan

April in my garden


Easter's late this year but that hasn't stopped the glorious burst of colour and fragrance in my garden this month. If March's signature colour was yellow, Nature has added purple and white to her April palette. Like the stunning narcissi in our orchard (cover picture). I know I say this all the time but April in my garden is one of my favourite months, there's just so much to revel in. Although my husband is less keen now that it's grass cutting season again...

What's flowering now?

I'm not going to bore you with yet more snaps of my beloved hellebores even though they're STILL flowering for a record fifth month. So here's a picture of some beautiful, fragrant little wild violets that have self-seeded and spread underneath our weeping pear tree.

Next to them are some yellow scented species tulips which have also naturalised and come back bigger and better each year.

Some of my favourite spring flowers are the summer snowflakes nodding away next to the ponds and purple primroses. They look like taller, more elegant snowdrops, don't you think?

Our valiant camellia japonica by the front door has started blooming again. I've come to realise that she's probably in the wrong place but that it's probably too late to dig her up and move her somewhere else. Chalk that one down to experience.

And all the fruit blossom is appearing on the trees in our orchard: plum (see below), peach, apple, pear, kiwi, and cherries. Alan bought new apple and plum trees recently and they've started to bud a little already too.

What's sprouting now?

Our three new raspberry canes (two in Flora's garden, one in mine) are sprouting early new green shoots, although I don't think we'll get any fruit from them this year. And there are masses of bulb shoots poking through the grass and in my flower beds but as usual, until they flower, I can't remember what they are! I suspect alliums and wild gladioli but hopefully next month will confirm that.

Outdoor jobs for April

Many of our daffodils need deadheading now the flowers are over. We'll pinch off the spent blooms just behind the seedpods but leave the stems and leaves in situ. They'll carry on absorbing sunlight and nutrients to feed the bulbs so they come back bigger and better next Spring.

Now the soil is warming up, all those annoying perennial and annual weeds are becoming rampant so I'll be digging them out. Afterwards, I can feed and mulch the soil, ready for planting my new white, purple, and green flowering gladioli corms and other flower seeds that need direct sowing. Tip from last year: ask your local Starbucks or Costa for their used coffee grounds to sprinkle over your weed-free soil. It puts nitrogen back into the earth, which is just what growing crops need. And it's free.

Our indoor-sown tomato and cucumber seedlings are now in the greenhouse. Fingers crossed for a long hot summer so they'll give us as many fruits as last year.

So far, only one white Purity cosmos seed has sprouted although all my pink Dazzler cosmos seeds are well away. I predict my garden will be predominantly pink this year. However, despite numerous chasing emails, my Purple Tower petunia seeds have STILL not arrived from Thompson Morgan. Quite apart from the lack of customer service, I'm very sad that I won't be growing my favourite fragrant climber this summer.

Also thriving are my new chocolate cosmos, pinched out sweet pea seedlings, new dahlia tuber, and rescued sunflower seedlings (from the seedhead I'd left out for the birds last winter).

Home Bargains *

I've been very lucky this year to have been sent a wonderful selection of garden goodies from Home Bargains* to have fun with. Flora was there for the unboxing so she's already cherry picked what she wants for herself. April in my garden sees yet another mother-daughter battle, which as usual, I lose :(

The tulip pot we'll keep back for potting up later in the year because tulips are best planted in late Autumn/early Winter. In the meantime, she's nabbed the kneeler (because weeding hurts her knees), the metal dog ornament (for her pond), the water spray bottle (for her indoor carnivorous plants), and all the flower, salad and carrot seeds (because apparently, I already have enough of my own). And I've agreed she can have the gloves as well because I like to be able to feel what I'm doing, and even the thinnest gloves prevent that. Her skin is more delicate though, so these gloves are ideal for her.

What did I get to keep? The potting kit with what I know is going to be a very useful little rake and trowel set to get the soil to a fine tilth when I'm sowing seeds in the future. And, as any gardener knows, you can never have enough good quality gardening forks when you're planting out, nor enough string for tying in growing plants. So the tin of twine with its hugely helpful integral cutting blade is nearly all used up already. I spent most of last weekend tying in the new shoots on lots of plants, including some viciously ungrateful roses which fought back.

Our garden birds will be very pleased with their new Fat Snax Balls in a sturdy bird feeder, and I am extremely happy with my new enamel mug. Not only will this keep my tea warm but if when I knock it over, no harm done and nothing gets broken. Genius. Now all I need to do is persuade Alan to keep it topped up... Huge thank you to Home Bargains for all these wonderful treats, what a lovely way to start April in my garden and get summer ready too.

Wildlife

The frogspawn in both our ponds and Flora's pond has all hatched. And due to the recent warm sunny weather we've been topping up the water levels once a week. We also put some frogspawn into an old fish tank so Flora could see it hatching and will transplant the new tadpoles to her pond in due course.

Alan's been keeping all the bird feeders topped up as well, to build up their strength for the impending egg laying and nesting season. And those new Fat Snax Balls will be a welcome addition to their diet.

Flora's garden

Recent additions to her garden (apart from the metal dog) include some newly planted carrot and broad bean seeds now the soil has warmed up. Top tip: when planting carrots, plant them with some onions to deter the dreaded carrot fly. Well, we've planted hers next to the emerging garlic, as that's from the same family, so we'll see if that actually works! Next month we'll start sowing the new flower and salad seeds too.

I've also given her my new climbing passion flower that I couldn't find a suitable home for, a baby apple tree grown from a pip, and one of my new rose plants (grown from cuttings taken last September). All of them will love the surrounding fencing for support. And, at long last, after much nagging, she has weeded her pathway.

April in my garden

So there we are, April in my garden is shaping up to be a busy month with lots to look forward to and lots of jobs to do. Not least of which will be cutting the grass, of course. I feel I ought to apologise for yet another long and photo-heavy post. But, if you're still with me then thank you, and I hope you've enjoyed your monthly ramble through our garden, greenhouse, and orchard!

What will you be doing in your garden this April? What are you looking forward to the most?

(* These items were gifted for review but all opinions and photos are my own and unbiased.This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make any purchases using these links).

#April #birdfeeder #blossom #wildlife #cucumbers #daffodils #frogs #tadpoles #garden #gardener #gloves #homebargains #mug #planting #primroses #rose #seeds #Spring #summersnowflakes #sweetpeas #tomatoes #tulips #vegetables

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