10 things to do in the garden during April

Ready, steady, sow!

Towards the end of the month, we can start directly sowing warmer weather crops such as broad beans, beetroot (early and maincrop varieties), early carrots, lettuce and parsnips. Courgettes and tomatoes can be started in the greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill in an empty egg carton.

Perfect pots 

Pots are a great way to add instant spring colour. Before planting, it’s always a good idea to test out your displays by grouping plants still in their pots. Wallflowers (Erysimum cheiri) and tulips add much-needed height. Combine with low-growing forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and lungworts (Pulmonaria) for a happy balance.

Bee happy

Encourage pollinating insects into your garden by giving them a head start in spring. Grape hyacinths with their bobbly flowers provide cones of nectar for foraging bees. Crocus also offer an early pollen boost to bees and beetles.

Rose garden

April is an ideal month to plant bare root roses. Get them off to a good start by hydrating in a bucket of water for at least two hours before planting. Make sure to dig in soil improver or well-rotted manure into the hole and water really well once planted.

Life is sweet

Choose a sunny spot in your garden and sow sweet peas directly at the base of supports in plenty of compost. Tie in the plants to help them get going. After a few weeks, they will attach themselves with their tendrils. Mice love sweet pea seeds so one trick is to use holly to ward them off.

Weed control

Weeds will start to appear in beds and borders with the warming temperatures. The easiest way to control them is to use a hoe, applying a thick layer of mulch over the surface to help keep any further weeds at bay.

Great British Life: Wildflowers are beautiful and attract pollinators. Wildflowers are beautiful and attract pollinators. (Image: Getty)

Go wild 

Wildflowers are a colourful way to encourage wildlife to your garden. If you have a sunny, bare patch, remove all weeds and stones and dig over the soil to create a fine tilth. Scatter the seeds finely over the growing area, lightly rake and water gently.

Lawn love

It’s a good time of year for your spring lawn feed because the grass is actively growing and the soil is moist. You should aim to apply lawn fertiliser high in nitrogen once you've cut the grass a couple of times. This shows that the weather is warm enough for good growth.

Cover up

Earth up early potatoes planted in March, drawing soil over the green shoots to increase the length of the underground stems bearing potatoes. Remember to keep an eye on the weather too and cover with fleece if temperatures drop which we know they can in April.

Easy pruning

A spring chop is always a good idea. Shrubs that have finished flowering such as Viburnums, Ribes and Forsythias should be pruned and trimmed back. Pruning immediately after flowering guarantees a bright and blooming outlook.

Great British Life: Rhododendron preacox. Rhododendron preacox. (Image: Getty)

Plant of the month: Rhododendron

The rhododendron is a fabulous shrub. It provides drama, a delicious scent and comes in a wide selection of colours from white through mauve to the darkest claret red. It’s tough and resilient but doesn’t like too much direct sunshine, so is best grown in partial shade. Rhododendron Praecox is one of my favourite varieties, and will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms throughout spring.