April in the garden

Last Updated on : 17th April 2024

As the days begin to lengthen and the weather starts to warm up, Gardener’s World is back on the nation’s TV sets and inspiration for garden maintenance, new projects and hints and tips from the Capital Gardens team are plenty.  April is the perfect time to get in the garden and begin preparing for the growing season ahead.  

Whether you are planning to grow flowers, vegetables, or herbs, getting your seeds planted now will allow them to quickly germinate and give them plenty of time to establish before the warmer summer weather arrives.

Our Top Tip is to always check seed packets for specific planting instructions. For example, some seeds need to be started indoors to give them the ideal start.  And, aubergines, cosmos, peppers, tomatoes, and petunias are some of those that benefit from starting off early, indoors, on a warm windowsill.

After the long winter, your lawn may be in need of some TLC!  April is the perfect time to give your lawn a good rake to remove the dead grass, moss, worm casts, and fallen debris.  Aerating the soil now will also improve drainage and encourage healthy new growth.  Bare patches should also be levelled and reseeded too.

However, our Expert Tip for lawns is do not be tempted to fertilize your lawn yet, even if it is looking sad!  Feeding your lawn in early April promotes lush growth that will shrivel up and be killed if night frosts return.  Always wait until late April before applying lawn fertilizer.

Now the spring soil is not frozen, planting a pot-grown rose in April will give it a head start on one planted in the summer. This will also hold true for other pot-grown shrubs and trees.  Modern bush roses can be pruned from mid-March to mid-April and the first stage of rose pruning is to remove any dead, diseased or dying shoots. Then take out any weak stems and those causing congestion, to open up the centre of the bush before reducing the length of the main stems.  Cut these back to about 1cm above an outward facing bud.

April is also the perfect time to start planting vegetables in your garden.  Plant cool-season crops like lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as the early varieties of carrots, radishes, and peas.  Be sure to prepare your soil by adding plenty of composted organic matter, and should the weather turn cold again, use a fleece or plastic bell cloche to protect your young plants from any hard frosts.

For a riot of late-summer colour, remember to purchase your summer-flowering bulbs such as dahlias, gladiolus and Eucomis, whilst the bulbs are still available.  Bold and beautiful dahlias come in a wide range of colours and sizes making them a popular choice for gardeners. If you have a warm spot for them, such as a sunny windowsill, summer flowering bulbs can be started off in indoor pots during April to give your plants a head start.  Dahlias should only be planted outside in the soil after the risk of frost has passed.  Plant in well-draining soil in a sunny spot in your garden and for the best results make sure to water, feed them regularly and provide support as they grow.  Dahlias that are planted directly into the soil from May onwards, once the soil has warmed up, will be later flowering than those started earlier under protection.

And remember, after the joy of the beautiful early spring blooms, be sure to deadhead the spent blooms on your daffodils to prevent them putting their valuable energy and resources into this year’s seed production rather than next year’s flowering.  It is also a good idea once daffodils and narcissi have finished flowering, to start applying a high potassium plant food, such as tomato food at weekly or fortnightly intervals up until the time the foliage starts turning yellow. But, never tie up or cut their green leaves to make them look tidy – you will starve the bulbs.

With summer just around the corner, April is a busy month in the garden. Start tackling these essential gardening jobs now, and you will set yourself up for a successful growing season ahead!


For further information:

You can find your local South West London Garden Centres at:

Neal’s Nurseries Garden Centre
Heathfield Road
SW18 3HR
0208 874 2037

Sheen Garden Centre
181-189 Upper Richmond Road West
London, SW14 8DU
0208 876 3648

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