April marks the moment when the garden really comes to life, all those new shoots are there in the beds. All that hard work in the autumn and through the winter months pays off and a new dawn is upon us.
The spring flowering bulbs and trees put on their show and suddenly our gardens are awash with colour.
Many of the gardens featured in the National Garden Scheme yellow book open their doors in late March and April. They include the lovely landscaped gardens at Doddington Place, near Sittingbourne, which open on Sunday April 3 and 10. The beautiful gardens at Great Comp Garden, Platt, near Sevenoaks are also open.
At Great Comp every spring you can enjoy magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Of particular note at Great Comp is William Dyson’s nursery that sell one of my favourites – salvias. William is a king of the salvia with a whole variety you can buy. We have a number of his species in our own garden and often recommend these to clients.
Put April 20 in your diary and don’t miss a trip to Pashley Manor Gardens to enjoy their Tulip Festival. Pashley Manor Gardens are situated just on the border between Kent and East Sussex in Ticehurst. Their tulip display is to die for! With over 20,000 bulbs planted each year.
If tulips are your passion, then you could always treat yourself to a weekend in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is an incredible destination. During our last visit we stayed centrally (which I think is the best option), so got the whole city experience, on foot. We then travelled by coach to the Dutch bulb fields. Probably the most famous gardens are at Keukenhof, where you can see a myriad of varieties in an amazing 79 acre landscaped garden.
The gardens at Keukenhof were established in 1950 and are situated a short ride, just beyond the airport. They originally formed part of Keukenhof Castle and were redesigned in 1857, then transformed into a permanent exhibition in 1950.
Featured within the gardens are just about every variety of tulip, hyacinth and daffodil you could imagine. We decided to go ape on tulips last autumn – I seem to recall ordering a huge quantity from Keukenhof in the summer of 2021, which nearly killed us and a few colleagues when we tried to plant them! But I’m sure it will be worth it!
Things to do in the garden this April
April is always a mixture of showers and sunshine, so everything grows, including the weeds! It’s time to keep these little beasties under control
Sowing and propagating seeds, both in the greenhouse and outdoors. Beware of late frosts and watch the forecasts. In particular protect budding fruit plants
If you haven’t tackled it already it’s time to tie back and prune any climbing roses
If the weather is mild, you can start to plant up your hanging baskets for the summer
Plant up your summer flowering bulbs, such as anemone, dahlias, gladiolus, alliums, freesia, agapanthus and lilies.
Plant up your herbaceous borders with fresh perennials (there is still time). Just make sure the specimens you buy have strong shoots and plant these in well prepared and conditioned soil
You may already have perennials you have grown that have become too large (such as salvias). You can now divide and replant these. Carefully dig the plant and its roots, pull apart groupings where you can see an obvious separation and replant. Do this before the plant sends up fresh flower shoots.