Updated: Nov 19, 2018
April has arrived, and only this week has it graced us with several days of fantastic weather and as April is one of the busiest months in a gardener's calendar it’s just the encouragement you need.
In My Garden
Spring seems to be a bit late in my garden this year. I’m pretty sure I usually have a load more bulbs in flower by now. My tulips are looking a bit anaemic at the moment and although there’s lots of green stems there aren’t many heads.
I have had a lovely garden surprise. Flowering for the first time in two years – Clematis Armandi, which has become a larger than life evergreen climber with leathery, dark glossy leaves and the most fragrant and frothy creamy white flowers.
The heady fragrance is of sweet jasmine.
The couple of trees I bought recently have added some spring fever to the raised beds, especially this creamy pink weeping cherry.
Thoughts have turned to my perennial beds and what to fill them with… I have recently been to London to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden for some healthy inspiration. I highly recommend a visit when in London!
The Garden’s location feels special and secret. It is nestled behind walls and positioned close to the River Thames. The ideal Thames location is no accident as back in 1673 the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries chose their Chelsea village site for its proximity to the river to make the most of its warm air currents. It gave them a base to moor their barge, allowing them to conduct plant finding expeditions in surrounding areas and to teach their apprentices to identify plants, those that might cure and those that might kill! The site is also blessed with a south facing aspect and good quality warm light soil, having previously been the site of a market garden. The River access allowed plants arriving from around the world to be introduced to the British Isles via the Garden, allowing the Garden to make a big impact from early on. Its international reputation was established quickly as a result of the global seed exchange scheme, known as Index Seminum, which it initiated in the 1700s and continues to this day.
The Garden has a unique microclimate and features the UK’s largest fruiting olive tree. In 1976 the head gardener collected a record crop of 7lb of ripe olives, which is a London crop record!
This April day when I visited was chilly and damp, but worth it see this amazing tree in blossom. Stachyurus Chinensis
Of course there was a delightful café perfect for lunch with an ex work colleague. We had lots to chat about and exchange the pleasures of both being ‘Granny’.
Meanwhile back in cold Yorkshire I am loving this Bellis Daisy to brighten up my patio table.
In Your Garden
Here’s what the rest of you should be tackling in your own gardens in April.
If you didn’t get round to it last month then get on top of the weeds before they start their attack on any spare bit of soil.
Deadhead daffys and tulips as soon as the flowers die, but resist the urge to cut off the leaves, so they can replenish for next year.
Add a general purpose fertiliser to plants. Apply a mulch of well-rotted compost around 2 inches deep around your shrubs to suppress weeds, reduce the need for watering and improve soil texture.
If you’re into your veggies then now is the time to sow direct carrots, peas, beetroot, and winter cabbage and broccoli as well as salad crops.
Providing it’s not too baltic at the end of the month, the last week of April is usually a good time to plant out sweet peas too.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies and nerines, outdoors.
If you have a greenhouse, as the day temperatures rise, open doors and vents, but remember to close at night.