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Gardener's Diary

April 2011

An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

Previously in The Gardener's Diary...

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

The Gardener's Diary

RosemaryI have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training.. I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime ... 

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from.. 

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

pansiesWhat a wonderful time of year this is, and especially welcome after our early severe winter. Most repairs have been done in our garden and one or two dead-looking treasured shrubs have been left, in the hopes that they will start growing again. There is still some green wood on the stems, a sure sign of life.

We have been very busy in the vegetable garden too, and have made a plan for the produce we will grow this year..

Gardeners will be pleased to know it has been confirmed that gardening makes you happy and can even keep you healthy, see here.


Jobs for the month

April 2011

Fruit and vegetable gardening for April click here

House plants

Increase watering and feed plants more frequently. Repot plants that have become root bound. Choose a warm, sunny day to stand larger specimens outside and give them a wash with the hose pipe on `fine spray`and let them dry before bringing them back inside. This is a job that can also be done in the summer on a rainy day.


April and May are good months for sowing or laying new lawns. Scarify the lawn to remove any dead thatch and moss, then give it the first feed of the year. For those of you troubled by chafer bugs eating your lawn's roots, it is said that a strong and healthy lawn will withstand chafer bug onslaught better than a weak lawn..

Shrub borders and roses

polyanthusPlant out dahlia tubers and sow hardy annuals where they are to flower. This is the time of year when I sow much of the seed I have previously collected from flowers such as miniature sunflowers and cornflowers. The flower borders will appreciate a mulching this month, which will help conserve moisture and stop weeds from growing. If you are using grass cuttings as a mulch, take care not to use the first three mowings after applying lawn feed as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Paths, walls and fencing

There is still time to do any necessary repairs before plant growth really gets going. Use a weedkiller such as Pathclear to kill grass and weeds on paved areas for a whole season. Examine the supports for climbing plants and replace if necessary. Pressure clean paths or other ground areas that have become slippery with moss and algae. (Read instructions carefully on weedkiller packets if you have pets)


ladybirdIncrease the amount of water given to plants but keep some gentle heat on in the greenhouse during the nights as frosts will still quickly kill your new seedlings. You can also cover them with horticultural fleece..
I sometimes plant up hanging baskets this month with smaller plants but make sure to keep them frost free and watered, then by the end of May they can go outside looking established..

 Trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs will appreciate a good mulching this month to conserve water, stop weeds growing and add goodness to the soil. Look for any signs of disease or pests and spray accordingly. If there has been any late wind damage, tidy the branches so there are no ragged edges that will let the damp and disease penetrate. If you need to remove any branches of trees, there is a preparation you can buy that seals the newly sawn wood.

Water gardens

If you are `spring cleaning` your pond, be sure to put your fish in a large container where they can swim around quite happily until being returned to their pond, making sure that cats cannot get to them. Once you have cleaned out and re-filled the pond, allow the water to stand for a day or two to avoid any temperature changes before returning the fish. If you are re-lining a concrete pond take care to use the correct sealant afterwards, and give it ample time to dry. Be ruthless and thin out aquatic plants. They will soon grow and fill the pond.


In April the birds are still breeding and so are most of the mammals that use our gardens. Parent birds are so busy feeding their young this month that they need concentrated body-building foods themselves such as the suet fat balls that we see in the shops especially for the birds. I always remove the netting from any bought bird foods as their feet can get trapped in it.
Sunflower seed hearts are a favourite for the birds in our garden and even the visiting squirrels favour them above the peanuts they usually eat..



Happy gardening till next month....

sneezing sunflower


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The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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