30th March 2018
April showers here we come, for this is the month when it has been known to be cold, very wet and with a chance of night frosts but on the other hand spring is flourishing with speed. It is probably the busiest time of year with planting seeds, catching up with winter jobs not done as crazy moments of snow have hindered our activity and the weeds just keep on growing.
However, what I do look forward to seeing at this time of year is the flowering clematis as it emerges into a pink blossom covering a pergola I have on the terrace (Clematis Montana Mauleen) and Clematis amandii ‘Apple blossom’, which is an evergreen with a beautiful starry flower. But my favourite clematis for this time of year is Montana Elizabeth which has dark foliage and pink fragrant flowers. However the white blossoms are emerging from the wild damson trees to the apricot and peach trees with their majestic pink flowers, this is followed by the crab apple blossoms which are a stunning pale pink and have a wonderful perfume, so a great addition to any garden at this time of year.
My pots of tulips are emerging and I cant wait to see the riot of colour that will follow, along with ‘Easter Table Decorations Workshop’ where we created a wonderful pot display for indoor and outdoor use, using colourful spring plants, with the occasional chocolate thrown in.
But pots are great, they will highlight each season with a riot of colour and texture. Pots for Spring could contain crocus, daffodils and one of my favourites is ‘Muscari Armeniacum’ the most common and known as the ‘grape hyacinths’ but the varieties are many and they make a wonderful display on mass. For the gap between spring and summer following on from the tulips I plant up on mass – Lilly of the valley which flower in May to June. Then for the summer pots I plant on mass Geum ‘Mrs Bradshore’, which have a wonderful double orange flower and will keep flowering till late in the summer. There is also a wide range of hydrangers that look great in larger pots along with a combination of ferns, liberitias and box balls which will carry on through winter.
JOBS TO DO
Protect your plant from the ravenous slugs and snails if you are wondering why your iris and magnolia bushes are looking a bit eaten and they love clematis as well.
Continue planting evergreen hedges and trees till the middle of the month
Trim back any frost damaged evergreen foliage and now is a good time to give Photinia Red Robin bushes a trim so they become not so leggy.
Weed weed weed…. need I say more.
THE VEG PATCH
I still think the soil needs more time to warm up as we are running about 2weeks behind in the season so continue sowing indoors cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, french beans and out door tomatoes so by the end of the month they are ready for pricking out.
For tougher vegetables and in a sunny spot, direct sow vegetables like beetroot, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas and parsnips. Cover if you think a frost is imminent
Artichokes, in the middle of the month is a good time to find what they call an ‘offset’ which is a baby sprout coming of the main parents root. So cut or break off below ground level and replant. Water well and enjoy the harvest over the next few years. They are also true to the parent so depending on variety this is guaranteed.
Continue preparing plant supports and staking (if you would like some tuition check out our April Workshops plus more will be running in May due to demand.
FAVOURITE APRIL PLANTS
Epimedium Vers Cupreum – A great plant with beautiful delicate sprays pale yellow and pink flowers which sit above a mound of oval evergreen leaves. It is delicate yet tough and will grow to 45cm tall 60cm wide in part shade to full. Flowers April and May.
Brunnera Macrophylla ‘Jardin d’adome’ – a good clump forming ground cover plant which is semi -deciduous. It has attractive foliage and delicate white flowers. It will grow 35cm tall and 40cm wide in shade to part sun.
Crab Apple – Malus ‘Evereste’ – a good small to medium tree which will grow to 4-8m which has an attractive shape with good autumn colour. It produces dark green leaves that are followed by red buds opening to white flowers and yellow fruit in autumn. will grow in sun/part shade.
an alternative is Malus ‘John Downie’ which is slightly bigger will grow 8-10m and has the same characteristics as ‘Evereste’ but with red fruit in autumn.