I eagerly await April every year as this is the month where the majority of my garden starts to put on rapid growth. It’s a bit like each plant vying for attention to be shortlisted for that staring role!
The restrictions from Coronavirus have meant as a Type 1 diabetic that I’m now in week 4 of lockdown. It would be a really depressing time if it wasn’t for the garden so let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to this month and provide you with some top gardening tips.
Naturalised Bulbs in the Lawn
You may remember that last October time I started to plant out a number of Daffodils in the lawn that separates the front garden from the exploding atom garden. These daffodils are still going strong and have really worked to help blur the invisible boundary between the two gardens. There used to be a hedge separating them and a line of trees. So these bulbs help to soften that otherwise awkward line.
By naturalising bulbs in a lawn you can help provide very early spring interest in your gardens. The pollen-rich bulbs will also help mother nature out in giving insects an early start. By naturalising bulbs in a lawn you can maximise even the smallest garden space. I find you’re also less likely to dig out naturalised bulbs as your not poking your trowels into the lawn as often as maybe your garden borders.
Weeding the Garden
I must admit, I let the weeding over winter in the garden completely slide. It was a really busy year garden design-wise last year. I also spent a huge amount of time building the garden gabions. By the time it got to November I was ready to hibernate.
This has resulted in a lot of weeding which I’m having to undertake before this next season starts. With Corona, I’ve got more time at home which is a blessing. With perennial weeds such as ground elder, creeping buttercup and couch grass the only way to remove it is manual. I use a Hori Hori and Japanese weeding trowel. Its hard work but necessary.
My top tip is don’t let your weeding build up as I have. This year I’m definitely going to keep on top of it.
Sharing Plants and Seedlings
One thing that the whole lockdown scenario is good for is helping spread the positivity of gardening. I’ve noticed a number of seedlings and self-seeded shrubs around the garden which I’m going to dig up and replant elsewhere in the garden. Some seedlings usually end up in my compost bin as there’s not enough space for them or them are in the wrong spot.
One idea I’ve had is to encourage people to plant share. So if you have plants or seedlings that otherwise would end up in a green bin, why not pot them on and leave them at your front door with a note ‘Free to a good home’. That way neighbours and passers-by can pick them up and you can start to spread the gardening bug!
A great example of this was the ‘Free Rhubarb’ I got on a walk the other day. Someone had left a bunch outside their front door with a ‘Please help yourself’ sign. What a lovely welcome gesture!
Sowing Seeds during Corona
I’ve also been growing a number of plants from seed this month too. I grew all my own herbaceous perennials without plastic last year to great success. I was going to have this year off but since I have a drawer full of miscellaneous seeds I’ve collected over the years I thought it was a good time to give them a whirl. Besides seeds only last so long before their viability to germinate disappears so it’s always best to sow them sooner rather than later. The clock is ticking!
If you’re new to seed sowing and growing then why not check out my playlist below which will help get you up to speed on the basics of growing your own from seed.
Water Newly Planted Trees
One of my final top tips this month is to make sure that any newly planted trees (under two years in the ground) will need watering at least once a week or more in warm weather. This is because they will still be establishing their root structures. This is the same for bare-root roses and plants too. So make sure you give them a drink so they don’t struggle.
So it’s been an unexpectedly busy month at Garden Ninja HQ. Who knows when the lockdown will end but one thing is for sure, us gardeners are a resilient group and now is the time for us to spread our knowledge to help other ‘accidental’ lockdown gardeners.