Blossom and Tulips have sprung to life in our gardens, bringing with it a sign of the warmer temperatures to come. This month is full of small, enjoyable jobs that will help your garden be at its best in summer.
However, emerging shoots are the perfect grub for those pesky slugs, so start protecting your plants. There are a few ways in which you can do this, from beer traps, picking them off, slug pellets (make sure you choose the wildlife friendly ones) and barrier methods like copper rings. Or you can make some small changes to your garden from raised beds to encouraging in wildlife. Thrushes and Frogs are a gardener’s best friend when it comes to getting rid of slugs and snails, place bird feeders around your garden or try and incorporate a small pond.
It is time to start bringing your tender plants outside, so that they can gradually acclimatise before being planted into a border or pot. Move them outside to a sunny but sheltered spot and allow them to get used to the changes in temperature and exposure to wind and rain. Use horticultural fleece to cover them if there is a cold night. Do this for two weeks before moving them to their final position if the risk of frost has passed.
If you are in the south you can begin to plant out your Sweet Peas, hold off towards the end of the month the further north you are. Sweet Peas grow best in rich soil with plenty of moisture and in cool conditions (not cold). The more you can enrich the soil before planting, the bigger and healthier they will grow.
You can now begin to plant your summer Lilies into pots, they provide one of the best and most fragrant summer displays. Plant the bulbs with around 4 inches of compost above the crown and keep them somewhere lightly shaded to grow. They will grow themselves if you provide good drainage and loose compost, such as a bark-based general-purpose compost. Move them to their final position when buds develop in May and June.
A final quick and easy job do this month is to dead head your Azaleas and Rhododendrons to extend their season. Snap them off in between your finger and thumb, so not to injure the fragile buds growing at the base of the flowers. This will also help to reduce the risk of fungal infections.
Willie the Worm