April in John's garden

Posted on: 18 April 2013 by Gareth Hargreaves

Take advantage of the warmer weather to sort out your perennials, borders and April gardening jobs.

FuschiaI have now finished cutting back most of the borderline hardy perennial plants in the garden (fuchsias, pentstemon, phygelius). I have left the abutilons until some new growth appears as I only cut back the portions of these shrubs that have been killed by frost to try to keep them as large as possible (Some of the abutilons are quite tender and the larger they are the less likely they are to be killed by a very hard frost)

We have had some unseasonally cold weather during the first few days of April which has delayed sowing of vegetable seeds. I usually sow mini lettuce, spring onions and parsnips in April. I only have a small vegetable plot and these are my favourites and have the added advantage of being relatively easy to grow. I sow them in modules in the cold frame and plant out in early May. 

Most of the garden is now devoted to permanent planting so I do not now sow bedding plants preferring to let somebody else do the hard work and buy a few trays of garden ready specimens in late May. 

I leave sowing nearly all my seeds until April as they need less heat to keep them going and can be quickly moved from my very small greenhouse to the cold frame. The seeds I am sowing this year are :-

Pentstemon clutei - A perennial variety

Asarina Red Dragon - A non-climbing hanging basket variety

Morning Glory (Ipomoea) - My favourite climber

Sweet peas - Always good for cut flowers for the house

Eccremocarpus (Chilean glory vine) - Very bright flowers and easy to grow climber

A few hardy annuals - Marigolds, sunflowers, Trailing Nasturtium, - Easy to grow and good for filling gaps in the garden.

Pieris formosa has the advantage of red new leaves and cascades of white flowers and is at its best in April.


Reproduced Courtesy of johnsgarden

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