- April is a great time to refresh your tubs and baskets, pulling up any tired winter bedding plants that have come to an end, replacing with a cheerful display of colourful spring flowering bedding plants such as Pansies, Violas, Bellis and Polyanthus.
Alpine troughs are easy to look after & make a lovely feature on the patio, where you can admire their miniature plant forms. In spring, there is a whole host of hardy alpine plants to choose from in a myriad of colours, together with a range of suitable troughs to suit your garden style. Top-dress your chosen planter with alpine grit to show your plants to best effect and protect their foliage from soil splash.
- One of the most economical ways to fill your tubs and baskets with colour this summer is to grow your own bedding plants from young plants, available now in store. Plant these easy to grow flowers immediately into small pots and grow on in a warm frost-free greenhouse or conservatory ready to plant out when all risk of frost is passed.
- Later in the month plant up hanging baskets with summer flowering tub and basket plants, growing on under protection ready to put out when all risk of frost has passed. During April our stores are stocked with a wide range of quality plants for you to choose from that will put on a fabulous flower display all summer long.
Beds and Borders
Weeds will be starting to appear as the spring temperatures increase. The easiest way to control them is to hoe them off, applying a thick layer of mulch over the surface to help keep any further weeds at bay. Mulching with organic matter such as farmyard manure or Bloomin Amazing Soil Enricher also locks in moisture and over time helps to improve garden soil, whilst also giving plants a well-needed boost.
- Apply a slow-release general purpose fertiliser, lightly forked into your borders as per the instructions on the packet - great for feeding all your hungry shrubs, herbaceous plants and roses. Remember to include your trees and hedges too.
- Complete any pruning of summer flowering shrubs, such as Buddleia or Lavatera at the start of the month. Early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia can be pruned if needed once its finished flowering.
- Continue to plant new pot grown hedges, trees and shrubs to add key structural elements to your garden. See our comprehensive range available now in store.
- April is a great month for planting new cottage garden plants, growing quickly in the warming soils. Put plant supports in place around herbaceous plants bursting into growth. By doing so early the overall look is more natural and any plant damage avoided.
- Tie in stems of climbing roses and ramblers, positioning stems near to horizontal to encourage lots of flowers along their length. Apply rose food around the plants and mulch well for the season ahead.
- Planting summer flowering bulbs, such as Dahlias, Lilies and Gladioli now will ensure maximum blooms throughout the summer.
- If you started sowings of hardy annuals, such as Nasturtiums, English Marigolds and Cornflowers under cover earlier in the season, these can be planted out now. Otherwise, there is still time to sow drifts of seed between existing border plants for a more natural look. Easy to grow Wildflower mixes are also available for a meadow feel.
- Pots or strips of sweet pea either from your own sowing or bought in store can be planted out now. Position strong plants around the base of wigwam supports made from bamboo canes or hazel sticks. Tie into position as the growths get long enough.
- Plant soft fruit now, such as Rhubarb, Raspberries, Blackcurrants and Blueberries. Visit your local store to see our extensive range or visit our website for delivery direct to your home.
- Protect the blossom of Apricots, Peaches and Nectarines from any late frosts.
- Plant out strawberry plants into ground enriched with farmyard manure. Cover with cloches to encourage an early crop.
- Plant your ‘chitted’ potatoes once their shoots are 3cm long. Use Dobbies peat free compost in pots and potato bags or in the ground feeding with potato fertiliser.
- Also, prepare vegetable beds for spring sowings by removing weeds and forking in plenty of farmyard manure. To help the soil to warm up quicker, consider covering prepared beds with cloches until you are ready to plant. This will also help to keep the soil drier, for easier seed sowing.
- Many vegetable varieties can be direct sown now, from carrots to parsnips, spinach to peas. Visit your local Dobbies to choose from our wide range available in-store. Or if you prefer, we have a wide range of young vegetable plants available for quicker results. If the weather turns chilly protect your plants with a layer of frost protection fleece.
Protect young seedlings from slugs. Apply nematodes to the surrounding soil as an effective organic control that can be repeated later in the growing season. Other vegetables such as cucumbers and courgettes can be sown under glass now ready for planting in May.
- Continue to prick out and pot on seedlings before they get too large. Ideally this should be done when the first pair of true leaves appear.
- Pot up and grow on young plants of your chosen summer bedding or cottage garden plants, ready to plant out when all risk of frost has passed. Growing from the young plug plant stage is an economical way to raise good numbers of plants and is ideal for those who didn’t get around to sowing seed in good time earlier in the season.
Pot up Begonias and Dahlias to get them growing ready to plant out after frosts have finished. Sow tender annuals in a heated propagator, visit your local store to see our range of options. Consider installing a water butt to harvest the rainwater from your roofs, a great investment for the season ahead, and much preferred by your indoor and outdoor plants to tap water.
- Now is the perfect time to get the lawnmower out and cut your grass for the first time this year. Cut grass with the lawn mower blades set high for the first few times, then use a good lawn feed to help your lawn look its best. Tidy lawn edges using a half-moon edging iron.
- Scarify lawns with a spring-tine rake to remove moss, dead grass and debris from the winter, starving the lawn of light and air. Sow new lawns or repair bare patches from mid-April if weather allows, on ground that has been pre-prepared, levelled and firmed. Alternatively, for quicker results lay new turf, available to order, leaving it undisturbed for a few weeks to allow time for new roots to establish.