Top Tips for your Garden from Karl, Rowton Hall's Head Gardener
After daffodils finish flowering, pick the flowers off. As well as being tidy, you’ll save the plants energy which would have been used for producing unwanted seed. Wait at least six weeks, then snip all the foliage off at ground level and put the debris into your compost bin. It’s also worth feeding the bulbs with a general-purpose organic feed as soon as the flowers are over.
Feed the Lawn
The end of April is the perfect time to do this. A good feed at this time of year sets it up for the summer so it looks green and can withstand the pressure of family life. It’s also a great time to sort out those bare patches in the lawn otherwise they will be quickly colonised by weed seeds. Make sure you use the grass seed most suited for that particular area; is the grass in sun or shade, does it receive a large footfall, is the lawn well drained or retains moisture, all things to consider before buying the grass seed at the garden centre.
Planting Evergreens and Conifers
In theory, you can plant these at any time of year as long as it’s grown in a pot and the ground is workable, but these plants seem to establish much better in April and September. Plant them as you would any shrub remembering to give it a good soak especially during dry periods, if you don’t, the plant will turn brown and won’t recover.
Grow your own
If you’ve never thought of growing your own, do have a go! There’s enormous satisfaction from eating something that you have grown yourself. Start off with filling a container with peat free compost and sow some lettuces or radish’s and in a matter of weeks you’ll be eating fresh produce. Or if you would prefer something a little sweeter, try planting strawberries in a trough and what’s best is you get free plants as they send out ‘runners’ during the end of summer for you to pot on for next year.
Keep on top of those weeds
It’s always a good idea to mulch your borders. You can still do this now during April if you didn’t manage to do it during early Spring. Mulching with compost, well-rotted manure or woodchip helps to reduce the weeds and to feed the soil. It’s important to spot the small weed seedlings early, and by using a hoe run it up and down the top of the soil slicing off the seedlings. Doing this now will save time in the long run and is much quicker than waiting until you have to do a thorough job of weeding with a hand fork which will take a lot longer.
Clip the hedges
We have plenty of hedges to look after here at Rowton Hall, and May is the start of the hedge clipping season. It’s important to take your time and ensure your shears are sharp. Once you start clipping, if you stand back every now and then it’s quite easy to keep a fairly level line. Aim to trim the hedge with a slight slope, a little wider at the bottom and thinner at the top. This way you avoid creating shade that kills out a lot of the bottom of older hedges. If you feel brave, why not try some topiary or introduce waves to your hedge to make it more interesting.
Plant out tub and containers
If there is one thing to brighten up a patio overnight, is the sight of your containers filled with summer bedding plants. But its best to wait until the middle of May before planting out just in case a sudden and unexpected frost kills your tender plants. Fill your tub or container with a good quality fresh peat free compost. You don’t want to penny pinch at this stage as the plants will be in their position for 5 months. You can position the plants quite close together in the container as you are looking for an instant display, just remember to water regularly during the summer and feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month.
Enjoy your space
You can gain an enormous amount of pleasure whether you are gardening on a balcony, a small backyard or an acre of garden. Being outside, watching the wildlife and taking enjoyment in your surroundings brings huge health benefits and reduces anxiety. Outside space whether large or small is so important in these troubling times, so enjoy it as much as you can.