April Flowers and Showers!

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Pruning and shaping roses now will encourage strong, healthy growth.

Warmer weather, longer days and April showers all come together to herald the time of year when we naturally head towards the outdoors. In the last few days of March flowers started to appear in abundance, particularly magnolias, one of my favourite spring flowers. I have a personal theory that if magnolias can flower without being hit by frost then we are going to have a great spring.

Jobs for this month include cleaning winter moss and algae off patios, paving and decking. It is worth investing in a bottle of patio cleaner as it will do a good job and not damage any plants adjacent to the cleaned area.

Tidying up plants in the garden is another, very satisfying, job at this time of year. Cottage garden plants will be starting to reappear in borders so remove old growth and even considering lifting plants like Hostas and splitting them before replanting in two locations. Splitting is easily achieved with two garden forks. Dig up the Hosta then push two forks, back-to-back, in to the centre of the plant. Pull the forks apart and this will split the plant in two. Replant and water well.

Climbers, such as many clematis and roses, can be pruned now. Early flowering clematis can be pruned as soon as they have finished flowering. Summer flowering varieties can also be pruned now but leave the late spring flowering ones until after they have flowered. Pruning and shaping roses now will encourage strong, healthy growth and an abundance of flowers.

As fruit starts to blossom it is really important to protect the flowers from late frosts. If you don't then you are at risk of a heavily reduced crop. A layer or two of fleece is usually enough to protect the flowers.

And finally, enjoy spending time in your garden whether planting a border, pruning a rose bush or simply relaxing, the benefits to your health and wellbeing are enormous.

Boyd J Douglas Davies, April 2022

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