Friday, April 4, 2008


You can always tell it's April
By the sound of falling rain
That mystic, mournful music
As it trickles down the drain.
We're told we should be thankful
For the kiss of April showers
As it washes all the grass clean
And prepares the soil for flowers.
There's another side to April
Which doesn't bode us good,
When that mini, manic maelstrom
Turns the lawn to liquid mud.
- Thomas Vaughan Jones, O' To Be in April

Things can start to get a little hectic now, if you let them, and also a little wet…
Organisation is the key to a success in April and you have to be ready to dodge the showers and make the most of your time when you do get outside. Remember also to take time to look around at the beautiful blossom all around on the trees, its lovely!

I have started to think of the garden as 3 separate areas.
The Ornamental Garden, The Veggie Plot and the Greenhouse, that is if you are lucky enough to have the latter, in my case it’s a window sill and a homemade cloches which work just as well! It seems to make it more manageable and less daunting.

In the Ornamental or Flower Garden it’s time to rake those lawns and start mowing as soon as the grass starts to grow again. A great time to think about sowing new seed or laying turf.
Lift and divide any perennials and plant any hardy annuals.
W have been busy pruning rose bushes, cutting back any frost damaged areas.
I have been tempted to plant out the Bougainvillea, but the weather report is erratic still predicting slight early am frosts. I am placing it outside very day to acclimatise and thinking of the beginning of April for the full move outside.

The Veggie Plot. The ground has been warming up nicely over the last few weeks so I have already made a start on seeding out. I have found in the past salads, radish and leeks all need a little cover of plastic for the first few days to help with germination but beetroots, beans, carrots, spinach, artichokes can all be seeded without if the temperatures remain stable…if not use some plastic until the seedlings start to push through.

It’s also a good time to plant any new fruit trees, bare rooted especially. Mike has bought me a new cherry tree. One of ours just keeled over and died last month which was a real shame. It hadn’t been doing well since we moved here. I think all the building work must have disturbed it.

The peas are already showing through from last month and the light rain we have been having has been excellent for them.

Mike has been busy pruning the grape’s a long hard slog that job and I am glad he does it. We are pruning them right back this year, following what the neighbours are also doing.

I don’t have a greenhouse I use my windowsills for some early varieties and now I start sowing under the cloches.
My tomatoes and peppers I started off on the window sill are coming along nicely. When the weather has been good I have started their acclimatisation by putting them out into the sun for a few hours every day but remembering to bring them back in at night.

On the window sill this month I am starting off little pots of herbs with a view to transplanting out next month. I have never done this before…so we will see how successful it is.

This sounds like a lot of work but an hour or so each day will allow you to keep on top of things and hopefully the planning done over the last few months will help you sail through it!