April tends to be a month of sunshine and showers. The warmth, light and moisture all help the earth to wake up. More plants are emerging from the soil and spring flowers are blooming. The birds are singing and building nests to raise their young. Keep feeding them if you can, they need to keep their strength up at this time of year. Making life easier for birds benefits us because they help to keep pests in check and they will doubtless brighten up your day.
Now is the time to be planting seeds indoors (such as basil, aubergine and courgette), ready to plant out or move to the greenhouse when they are established and the risk of frost has passed. If you haven’t already bought (or saved) seeds, visit your local garden centre and get sowing. Try some sunflowers. Once they make it past infancy they are very tough and those flowers will cheer you every time you look at them. If you leave the flower heads on, the ripened seeds will provide food for the birds in the autumn.
Love your lawn
If you have unwanted mossy patches in your lawn these can be removed by raking vigorously (a process called scarification). The moss may indicate poor drainage so use a garden fork to spike the lawn to improve the situation. You can then scatter grass seed to replenish the lawn and fill in the gaps.
If you have a pond, it may need a little maintenance at this time of year. Established plants might need dividing so they don’t outgrow their baskets and take over the whole pond (it can happen, so beware!). If you have space, it’s the perfect time to introduce new aquatic plants before the growing season really gets underway. And, for lovely clear water all through the summer, add a bundle of barley straw which will discourage algae.
Weed and trim
Continue to keep on top of the weeding to allow space and nutrition for the plants you want to grow. It’s much easier to do this when the weeds are small and haven’t had time to establish strong root systems. If any trees or shrubs have produced unwanted suckers, cut them away now before they get carried away – it will save you more work later on
By deadheading spring bulbs and bedding flowers you will keep them looking lovely and they won’t waste energy setting seed. If you have bracken, or other ferns, cut away any tatty fronds to make way for new ones that are starting to unfurl.
Being active in our gardens brings enormous benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing. Do make the most of your garden, not just to work in it, but to play and to relax. Whether you are out there getting your hands dirty or sitting on the doorstep catching a few rays and listening to birdsong, please enjoy.
Don’t have a garden waste bin or need an extra one? Wealden’s Garden Waste Service enables residents to subscribe to have up to four garden waste bins emptied on a fortnightly basis. For more information and to subscribe visit www.wealden.gov.uk/gardenwaste.