Hooray, the clocks have changed and April is upon us. The last month seems to have flown and a few balmy days really brought life swiftly to the hedgerows. Catkins came from nowhere and the land was suddenly alive. The trees were full of bantering birds, of males showing off and jostling for attention and Collar Doves returned to coo into the cowl on our chimney. There is much promise in the ponds too, with frogs, toads and newts all very busy.
The garden is very much in need of our attention now. The lawn grows vigorously and so does the moss. The edges will benefit from redefining. The grass is a great place to start actually, newly mown and edged it delivers a positive statement (it’s a real feel good exercise). This one commitment sets the scene and all of the other tasks seem less of a labour. From the new edge, we can start to weed and tidy borders, conquering patches and planting as the mood takes. Very quickly the spirit is lifted and the task becomes less daunting. The spaces can be plugged with early bedding and with young herbaceous and alpine plants and as we move back summer bulbs can be offered space. Lillies, Gladioli and Dahlia tubers introduced as a back drop. If we have shelter a start can be made on tubs and baskets. In a protected position they will swell and grow and be made suitable for May and full exposure. We can still sow seed too and if open space is available broadcast mixes of cottage flowers to deliver colourful drifts in July. On the window sill or in the greenhouse we can sow tomatoes and peppers, aubergines and courgettes. Started under a slip of polythene for a few days they will germinate and make growth and they too will be ready for May planting out.
Out on the vegetable plot,we can finish planting potatoes and can plant more peas and broad beans. As the month advances, we can set out runner and French bean seeds. They will take two to three weeks to appear in open ground, but with kind conditions can be cropping in July. In saying kind conditions, have an eye for May frosts and just run fleece or even paper across plants if cold threatens.
And finally enjoy the month, the month of April is one of dramatic change. Overnight things are revived and reborn.