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 bedding plants such as Pansies, Violas, Bellis and Polyanthus. Alpine troughs are easy to look after & make a lovely feature on the patio, from where you can admire their miniature plant forms close up.
In spring there is a whole host of lovely 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. Or consider creating your own ‘living wall’. Now available in-store, this new on-trend gardening concept is an easy way to add a stylish new plant feature to your home or garden setting.
One of the most economical ways to fill your tubs and baskets with colour this coming summer, is to grow your own bedding plants from young plants, ordered now for direct delivery to your home. Plant up 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 British grown 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 with the warming temperatures. 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 garden compost also locks in moisture and over time helps to improve the soil, whilst also giving plants a well-needed boost.
Apply a slow release general-purpose fertiliser, lightly forked into your borders as per the manufacturer’s instructions - great for feeding all your hungry shrubs and roses. Remember to include your trees and hedges too. If there are evergreen trees and shrubs that need relocating to a new home, April is the perfect month to move them, so long as the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.
Complete any pruning of summer flowering shrubs, such as Buddleia or Lavatera. Early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia can be pruned if needed once flowering has finished. Continue to plant new container grown hedges, trees and shrubs to add key structural elements to your garden. See our comprehensive range of British grown trees available online for direct delivery from the nursery to your home.
Lift and divide any herbaceous plants that have out-grown their allotted space. Splitting also helps to re-invigorate tired cottage garden plants where flowering has diminished. Cut back Penstemon now that the worst of the colder weather has passed. Cut just above strong new growth forming at the base. Lavenders too can be trimmed back to prevent them getting leggy and woody. Lightly cut back to just above fresh new shoots. Tie in stems of climbing roses and ramblers, positioning stems near to horizontal to encourage lots of flowers along their length. Give them a good feed and mulch well for the season ahead.
April is a great month for planting new cottage garden plants, growing quickly in the warming soils. See in-store for our extensive range of great value 1 litre British grown plants. 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. There’s still time to plant summer flowering bulbs, such as Dahlias, Lilies and Gladiolus. Visit your local store for a wide choice of top quality bulbs, including a range of specially selected bulb collections in irresistible colour themes sure to bring fragrance and flower colour to your summer garden.
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 broadcast 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 of sweet pea started into growth last autumn or earlier this spring can be planted out now. Position strong plants around the base of wigwam supports made from bamboo canes or hazel sticks. Tie into position if growths are long enough.
Continue to 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 on-line delivery direct from the nursery to your home. Protect blossom of Apricots, Peaches and Nectarines from any late frosts.
Plant out strawberry plants into ground enriched with well-rotted manure. Cover with cloches to encourage an early crop.
If not done so already, plant your ‘chitted’ early potatoes in the ground or potato bags. Also, prepare vegetable beds for spring sowings by removing weeds and forking plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure. To help the soil to warm up quicker, consider covering prepared beds with sheets of black plastic 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 outdoor sowings with a layer of 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 unfurl.
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 past. 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 started into growth earlier in the spring.
Sow tender annuals in a heated propagator. Visit your local store for an extensive range to choose from. Consider installing a water butt to harvest the rain water from your roofs, a great investment for the season ahead, and much preferred by your growing plants to tap water where available.
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 and weed killer to help your lawn look its best. Tidy lawn edges using a half-moon edging iron, or alternatively a sharp spade.
Scarify lawns with a spring-tine rake to remove old thatch 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 in store, leaving it undisturbed for a few weeks to allow time for new roots to establish.