April hints & tips
Remove the faded flowers and seed heads of spring-flowering bulbs as they start to go over. And remember to feed the plants during and after flowering with a soluble plant food applied over the foliage and around the roots. This will help to make large bulbs to ensure another superb display next year.
Make sure you’ve carried out any cleaning and repair jobs. Clean the patio and greenhouse, preserve and stain wooden features, and clean out water butts. Not sure what products to use? Just ask – we’re here to help.
Give all your outdoor plants the best start by making sure you feed them now. Sprinkle the fertiliser around the root area and work it into the top inch or so of soil. If the soil is dry, water in the feed to prevent it burning the roots. Controlled release fertilisers are the easy way to feed and forget, as they release their nutrients whenever the soil is warm enough for plant growth, and will feed the plants for the whole year.
It’s full steam ahead in the greenhouse this month. There’s plenty to do – from sowing seeds, taking cuttings to potting up young plants. Keep a careful eye on night and daytime temperatures and have heaters and vent openers on stand-by to avoid extremes of temperature – frost, sun scorch and under watering can all be fatal this month. Make sure all plants are carefully hardened off before planting outdoors – a cold frame is ideal for this.
Grass should be growing strongly now, so make sure you mow regularly. While you’re mowing, taking note of bare patches, moss invasion and weeds and deal with any problems you see. Now’s also an ideal time to feed the grass for a lush, healthy lawn. Don’t forget to pick up any grass seed, lawn feed, weedkillers and mosskillers you need, before you leave.
Mulching the soil with a thick layer of organic material – such as composted bark or bark chippings – will help keep weeds down, as well as helping to keep the soil moist in summer. It will also insulate the soil and prevent it from getting too cold or too hot for good plant growth. For best results the mulch needs to be between 2 to 3 inches thick. If weeds are a big problem in your garden you may need to tackle them with one of our ready-to-use weedkillers. Just ask for more details.
Add instant colour to your patio and garden with our ready-filled pots, or plant up your own. Add a controlled-release fertiliser and water-retaining gel to the compost to make feeding and watering easy. And fix up a micro-drip watering system for even better results – believe me, it’ll make life easier too! Remember to pick up everything you need including containers, plants, compost, feeds, gel and watering system, and get planting today for a superb splash of colour through spring and summer.
As the weather warms up, pests and diseases will be stirring in the garden. Keep on top of any problems that do occur to ensure they don’t get out of control – early eradication is the key to success. Ready-to-use sprays do away with fiddly mixing and ensure you have something ready to deal with the problems as soon as they’re seen. Slugs and snails are also a nuisance at this time of year because almost all new leaves are soft, lush and good food for them. Sprinkle slug pellets, place barriers, or water a liquid slug killer around susceptible plants such as hostas, delphiniums and vegetables.
Plant up hanging baskets & pots
It’s too early to put summer hanging baskets and containers outside, but you can plant them up now. You’ll just need to keep them inside where they’ll get good light and protection from frost. By planting now you’ll have a full basket ready to burst into colour for the summer. If you need any help and advice on which plants to use and how to plant up – just ask – and remember to pick up your plants, baskets, liners, brackets, pots, compost, water-retaining gel and feeds before you leave.
Hardy annuals can be sown outside now where you want them to flower. Indoors you can sow a selection of annual climbers. Also sow tender vegetables indoors ready for planting out next month. Wondering what to sow? Just ask a member of staff, and don’t forget – you’ll need seed trays, cell trays, small pots, a propagator, compost and labels, so buy them before you leave.
For a riot of colour this summer you can’t beat summer-flowering bulbs. Lillies especially are perfect for bringing colour, and scent, to the garden. They can even be planted in containers on the patio. Then cover the surface of the compost with bedding plants for extra summer colour. Don’t forget to pick up your bulbs, containers, compost and grit before you leave.
Prick out seedlings of tender bedding plants and pot up young plug plants and cuttings so that they can grow into sturdy plants ready for planting out once the fear of frosts has passed. Always use fresh potting compost and make sure that seed trays, pots and cell trays are thoroughly cleaned – or buy some new ones. Plants will need hardening off before planting out, and they can be protected from cold, wind and light frosts with horticultural fleece.
Tall and floppy herbaceous plants – especially in windy and exposed gardens – will need some form of support. Putting plant supports in place now will help prevent problems later on when it’s difficult or impossible to do anything about it. Then carefully tie in the stems as they develop with soft string or similar.
To ensure tasty, early vegetables this year, buy your growing-bags now and put them in the shed, garage or greenhouse so that the compost can warm up ready for planting up later. You can put young tomato, pepper, cucumber and other plants into growing-bags – or 9 to 10 inch pots of compost – as soon as they’re big enough to transplant. And don’t forget that these plants will need some support while they’re growing, so take a look at the suitable supports we have in stock.