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Botany Bay’s terrific Tips For April

Shrub Border

April is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. Whether it’s replacing old tired shrubs or just adding some new ones to your garden.

The soil is starting to warm up and plants will begin to grow as they are planted.

When planting always mix the soil from the hole, Westlands Bonemeal and Bulrush compost to give your plants the very best possible start.

By the middle of April Forsythia flowers will almost be over, now is the right time to prune it back. Cut out any stems that bore flowers, and keep any young stems as it is these that will bear the best flowers next year.

By the end of April Viburnum Tinus, Sarcococca, Mahonia Japonica, Hamamellis and Jasminum nudiflorum will also have finished flowering, these should all be pruned back in a shapely fashion.

The growth of Lavatera and Buddleja is prolific. Prune back hard now so new shoots have time to mature in order to produce a stunning display of flowers.

The bright stems of Cornus Siberica should by pruned back hard before it comes into leaf. This enables short stocky stems to establish and give great winter colour later in the year.

By the end of April winter flowering Heathers will also have finished flowering. Trim back the old flower heads and a third of the growth with a pair of shears or secateurs, this will encourage new growth ready to bear flowers next winter, This also a good time to feed Heathers with ericaceous food.

Now’s a good time to give the shrub border a top dressing of fertiliser. Westlands Growmore or Blood, Fish & Bone are a good feed to encourage new growth. Before applying any fertiliser, lightly hoe the surface of the soil to let fertiliser penetrate.

Herbaceous Border

The daffodil bulbs are coming to an end and are beginning to look untidy. Snip off the old flower heads but not the foliage, top dress with Westlands Bonemeal to encourage the bulbs to swell and grow larger for a good show of flowers next year.

Lift and divide Snowdrop bulbs into smaller clumps to help naturalisation.

Many hardy perennials will now be actively growing, make sure your plants are weed free and top dress with Westands Growmore to help encourage strong growth.

Old woody Perennials can be lifted and divided to increase stock.
Greenfly often make an appearance on ployanthus at this time of year, spray with Bayer’s Provardo Westlands Plant Rescue. Nip them in the bud as soon as they appear.

Annual flowers

Botany Bay now has Sweet Pea plants available and they love Godwins Farmyard manure which is always available at Botany Bay. Sweet peas love their food, feed with a good all round feed like Miracle-Gro Continue to sow summer bedding in the greenhouse and prick out any sowings made in March.

Alternatively a wide range of early summer patio & basket plants are now available in our Plant Centre. All grown on our own nursery just 2 minutes away from the sales area.

Those pesky Slugs will start to put in an appearance in this month so a top dressing of Growing Success Advanced slug pellets should now be placed around the tender young shoots of Hosta plants as they push through the soil. Growing Success Advanced slug pellets are child and pet friendly.

Alpines can be planted out now, we have a great selection that are locally grown.

Fruit Garden

With the warmer weather approaching look out for early signs of pest and disease damage like greenfly and mildew, begin spraying with insecticide and fungicide as soon as these signs appear.

Now is a great time of year to plant strawberries, either in ‘open’ soil or in a hanging basket. We have new young strawberry plants available now.
Blueberries love a slightly acidic soil. Now is an ideal time to dig in Bulrush Ericaceous compost and apply some Westland’s slow release fertiliser granules.

If frost is forecast use horticultural fleece to protect the blossom of flowering fruit bushes and trees.

Vegetable Garden

Here at Botany Bay we have a well stocked area for young vegetable and salad plants including Lettuce, Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Peas and Spring Onions with Runner Beans following on towards the end of the month.

Peppers, Courgettes, Cucumbers and Tomatoes are also available but will need frost protection if planted outside during this month and early May. These plants will need protection of a kitchen window sill or greenhouse.
Remember when planting salad and vegetable crops in the garden to leave enough space for hoeing between rows.

Plant second early Potatoes at the beginning of April and main crop varieties at the end of the month.Earth up any early ones that are just showing through the soil. This will protect the young growth against night frosts.
Carrots should be sown now. Don’t worry about sowing carrots to thick, as ‘finger’ carrots can be picked at an early stage and eaten in salads.

Lawns

This month is an exciting time for lawns! We can really get cracking now the winter is behind us. Feeding and weeding can start in the middle of April as long as favourable weather has let the grass and weeds grow. The best ‘all rounder’ for this is Westlands ‘Feed, Weed & Moss Killer’

Lawn sand can be applied to kill any moss in the lawn. Make sure it is spread evenly and that the dead moss is raked up about two weeks time.

If you’re creating a new lawn, now is a great time to start this project. Dig the soil over to the depth of a fork, when the soil is reasonably dry and crumbly rake out any stones and rake a flat firm surface on which to sow your grass seed. A top dressing of Westlands Growmore fertiliser can be raked into the soil before applying the grass seed, this will encourage active strong young roots to develop into a good lawn more quickly.

Lawn mower blades can be set to a medium height when mowing.

Green House

Be mindful of late frosts and cover plants in the green house with horticultural fleece.

Now your Patio & Basket plug plants have started to put on some growth they can have young shoots pinched back to a pair of side shoots. This will help them bush out and make larger, stronger plants.

If April is warm and sunny think about spraying ‘Cool Glass’ on your green house. Once mixed, it’s a white liquid that is sprayed on the glass and protects young plants from strong sunlight.