Spring colour in the garden
At last there is colour in the garden with pink and white blossom on Cherry and fruit trees. There are more colours too with blue anenomes and hyancinths, plus yellows from wild spring flowers such as aconites, celandine and pink thrift.
As with much of beauty in the garden it is often the placement and pairing of plants that make the difference. This is a good time to seek advice for selecting and planting new potted shrubs. You will, in most cases, not be too late to get some extra colour into this seasons garden.
Forsythia and Ribes
Add a Ribes Sanguineum King Edward v11 (flowering redcurrant) with its deep crimson flowers to stand close to the bold yellow Forsythia int. Spectabilis. Both plants are enhanced by each other’s company.
The small round tree/shrub is the best known is x Soulangea This has fragrance, leaf colour changes and an abundance of blossom. A more petite and upright version is Stellata that is more suitable in the corner of borders. It too is fragrant and the flowers are bright white. The Daddy of the magnolia family is Grandiflora with its huge cupped blossoms similar in appearance to water lillies. However you will have to wait for late summer to see these in bloom.
Many shrubs give superb displays as their new foliage emerges. Acer palmatum Osakazuki has green foliage in the Spring followed by a blaze of fiery scarlet leaves in Autumn. It is ideal in part of the garden with dappled shade.
Nandina domestica “Firepower” is a small evergreen shrub ideal for any border or container. It produces truly stunning creamy-coloured new foliage which then turns orange/red and finally hot pink! It is commonly known as “Sacred Bamboo” but is actually a member of the Berberis family, and only resembles bamboo in its appearance.
Exochorda x Macracantha – the Bride
This is a stunning Spring shrub, lots of very white blossoms (no scent).
You are best to wait until both the Ribes and Forsythia have finished flowering before pruning out the old wood. Prune one third of the old stems right down to their base as this helps prevent them becoming woody with reduced flowering performance.
This is best done in the Summer. Prune to give the required shape. size and an open crown or in the case of Stellata, a “fork” type appearance.
Get out there and stab your lawn to by using a garden fork. This process reduces compaction, increases surface drainage and improves root health. The other beneficial result is it is more energetic than going to the gym. Then add the manufacturers recommended dose of chemical. Nowadays you buy it in a packet as a three in one mix of weed, feed and moss control. Wait until the moss blackens and then rake out the thatch and moss. When mowing, remember to keep the grass long enough – about an inch tall – to enable the grass to take in the rain and sun. If you cut it too short, the only winner will be moss.
If you’re short of time and/or inclination, don’t forget that a Gardeneer team can take care of your lawn as well as help you with the multitude of garden tasks that need doing at this time of year. Gardeneer teams can tidy up (taking the debris away), design an old or new garden. We also advise on plants selection and placement. Perhaps a bit more space for outside entertainment with a patio for the summer (or clean your old one). Then there are the fences which have taken a bit of a pounding in the squalls.
Wildlife friendly gardening
Sustainable and wildlife-friendly spaces are becoming ever more important, whatever size the garden. Climate change and the loss of bio-diversity are not helping but we can all do eco bit to help in our own gardens. Allocate a small space for Meadow plants and a shallow pond to attract insects and maybe even frogs and newts.
Jobs in the garden for April
- Remove faded daffodil and tulip flowers, nipping off the heads and seed pods at the same time.
- Deadhead pansies, primulas and other spring bedding plants. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer, if attended to frequently.
- Remove tired winter bedding and plants that did not survive the winter.
- Check that self-seeded forget-me-nots aren’t smothering other border plants. Pull out plants if necessary.
- Hoe borders to prevent annual and perennial weeds from spreading and seeding themselves.
- Bulbs coming up in the rock garden or in containers may benefit from overhead protection from the rain.
- Feed borders with a good fertiliser
- Pots and tubs benefit from topping up with fresh compost. Old compost can be removed and replaced with new material to a depth of 5cm (2in) if there is not much room for topping up.
- Buy fresh potting compost from your local garden centre and store it in a cool dry place in preparation for the season ahead.
- Water butts are a worthwhile investment for the season ahead. Position them under a downpipe to make the most of rainfall.