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Gardener's Diary                April



Rosemary Martin







Gardener's Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 


An introduction from Rosemary...     



I 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..


Forty eighth edition - April 2005   

After a dodgy start, March gave us some wonderfully warm and sunny days, leading us gently into spring.. It is a pleasure to see people tending their gardens once more and have you noticed how cheerful we all are with a bit of warm sunshine on our backs?

Here are some interesting gardening statistics for the 50 plus age group

This is the time of year when most of us enjoy a trip to the garden centre, which usually has the most wonderful displays of seasonal plants in flower, but at exorbitant prices. But, every garden centre has a `casualty corner` where all the rejected and not so pretty stuff is hidden away, and it`s well worth rummaging around for plants at knock down prices..  Some of my most treasured trees and shrubs are from such hidden corners!

Recent walks in the forest saw the ponds absolutely heaving with mating frogs, and an abundance of frogspawn. I wonder why, this year, they are so very productive... On another wildlife note, I read in my paper during March, about the arrival in Britain last year of a ladybird called The Harlequin, which has possibly been imported with plants from the continent, where it is decimating the native ladybirds.. Scientists want gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts to report sightings of the pest to .


Jobs for April



Amazon book - Conservatory & houseplantsOn a warm sunny day, take all your smooth-leaved houseplants outside and give them a clean with a misting spray from your hosepipe or sprayer. Those plants such as African Violets with hairy leaves can be cleaned with a pastry brush to remove any dust that has accumulated over winter. Check all the houseplants for any pests such as mealybug and whitefly and try to eliminate them as soon as you can.

Repot any plants that seem to be root bound and start to feed them for the summer season, according to their needs. I find Miracle-gro is a good all-rounder for indoor and outdoor plants, trees, and vegetables alike...



Continue sowing or laying new lawns and repairing existing ones. Scarifying to remove thatch and an application of `weed and feed` will set your lawn up for the season. Take care of your pets when using chemicals of any sort in the garden. Don`t forget that a beautiful lawn won`t look so good if it has scruffy edges. I use lawn edging shears for the job and find it a very therapeutic task..


Paths and walkways

A very quick and efficient way of cleaning the moss off paths and walkways is to use a power washer. This is also good for getting rid of moss in tarmac driveways and walls.


Vegetables and salad crops

Amazon book - Creative Vegetable Gardening Sow successional crops of cabbage, lettuce, carrots, spring onion and radish taking care over the selection of the most suitable varieties.

Cut back plants in your herb pot or garden. Prune sage right back to old wood and it will grow all the better for it. Replace any tired specimens. If you only use a small amount of herbs, try growing them in a herb pot. Don`t plant any varieties of mint directly into the garden, because it will take over. Use a pot to contain its roots.

Plant maincrop potatoes and earth up any early varieties that have produced foliage. These should not be left exposed as they are vulnerable to frost damage.


Ponds and water features

This is the ideal time of year to lift, divide and replant established aquatic plants, and introduce new ones. Start feeding the pond fish if you haven`t already. New fish can also be introduced to a pond successfully while the weather remains cool. Take care to allow the water temperature in the polythene bag you bring them home in, to equalise with the pond water you are introducing them into.

When it is necessary to clean a pond out completely, do so now. Never clean a pond out unless there are compelling reasons to do so. For most pond owners this need only happen every five or six years. Do take care to remove any wildlife including the tadpoles before you clean out your pond...



If you have got a concrete floor to your greenhouse, plant greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers in growing bags or large pots. Later on this month, plant up your patio planters and hanging baskets with bedding plants, but keep them in the greenhouse until towards the end of next month when the danger of frost has passed.

Begin to harden off the more advanced bedding plants using a cold frame if you have one, or by leaving them outside during the days and returning them to the greenhouse at night if it is particularly cold or windy..



Amazon book - Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Rodale Organic Gardening Book


There is still time to lift and divide some perennials. Stake taller plants to avoid strong winds snapping the stems. I`ve been using these metals spirals which are much better looking than canes and more effective. Last year I grew some sweet peas up spirals, dotted around the borders - absolutely magic!

Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. A current email address is necessary as my replies to you are sometimes returned to me as undeliverable..

Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 



You may obtain their free New 2005 Seed Catalogue by telephoning 01473 695224 and their website address is where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line. 

And some places to visit...

RHS Flower Shows 2005

RHS Spring Flower Show, Cardiff

: :  

22 - 24 April 2005

The Spring Gardening Show Malvern

: :  

13 - 15 May 2005

Chelsea Flower Show

: :  

24 - 28 May 2005

BBC Gardeners' World Live

: :  

15 - 19 June 2005

Charity Gala Preview of the
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :

4 July 2005

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :  

5 - 10 July 2005

RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

: :  

20 - 24 July 2005

Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

24 - 25 September 2005

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  


Wisley Shows

: :  

April, June and August  Visit the Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.




Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN



The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden


The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 







Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website





Amazon book - A year at Kew

 Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden

Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS)

Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)




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