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April 1, 2024

Gardening Tips for April: 5 Jobs To Do This Month

As April ushers in the vibrant colours of spring, take the opportunity of warmer, sunnier days to get out in your garden and get planting! With longer daylight hours and milder temperatures, this month offers more time for you to plan and create a beautiful garden that blooms with colour all year round. Here are some essential gardening tips to help you make the most of your garden in April.

Plant Rhododendrons - it's our Plant of the Month!

Rhododendrons, with their breathtaking blooms and glossy foliage, take centre stage in many gardens during springtime. These stunning shrubs thrive in the UK climate, offering a spectacular display of colour. Ideal for shaded areas, they prefer acidic soil conditions, so when planting rhododendrons it's crucial to use ericaceous compost to provide the acidity they need for healthy growth. Plus, feed with ericaceous feed throughout the summer to ensure they receive essential nutrients to flourish. Consider using Rocket Gro Ericaceous compost (get 2 bags for £13 this month in-store), which is specially formulated to promote optimal growth and vibrant blooms in acid-loving plants. Rhododendrons are our plant of the month, so pop in to Hilltop Garden Centre Clacton to browse our range.

Prune Dead Foliage

In addition to tending to specific plant needs, April is the perfect time to prepare your garden for the months ahead. Begin by clearing away any debris or dead foliage accumulated over winter, allowing new growth to emerge unimpeded. Take the opportunity to inspect plants for signs of pests or diseases, addressing any issues promptly to prevent them from spreading. Prune flowering shrubs and trees, such as ornamental grasses, lavender and buddleia, to encourage healthy growth, more prolific flowering and to maintain their shape.

Tip: Always sharpen tools before you prune, and clean them after use to avoid transferring possible disease. Pop in-store on 20th April between 2-4pm to take advantage of the mobile tool sharpening service provided at Hilltop Garden Centre by The Sharpener.

Get Your Seeds On The Grow

As the soil begins to warm up, April is the ideal time for sowing seeds and planting seedlings. Whether you're cultivating vegetables, herbs, or flowers, ensure the soil is well-drained and free from frost before planting. Consider companion planting (plants that compliment each other) to maximise space and deter pests naturally: for example, plant carrots alongside marigolds, or plant herbs alongside perennials such as delphiniums or lupins. We have everything you need in-store for sowing seeds, including a wide range of vegetable and annual seeds, seed compost, seed trays and horticultural grit.

Tip: Remember to water newly planted seeds and seedlings regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Plant Delphiniums

Plant delphiniums now so you can enjoy their stunning blooms later in the season. Delphiniums are a cottage garden must-have that thrive in full sun but appreciate some afternoon shade when the temperatures soar. Expect their beautiful flowers to bloom in June and July. Here's how to plant them:

  • Plant in warm, moist soil. Choose a well-draining soil enriched with organic matter - try our Rocket Gro Beds & Borders organic compost for the best results - now 2 bags for just £13
  • Space the delphiniums apart to allow for good air circulation
  • Plant at the same depth as they were in their containers
  • Water thoroughly after planting
  • Provide support stakes to prevent them from toppling over as they grow.

Tip: After they've finished flowering, cut them down to the ground and you will enjoy a second flush of blooms in September.

Plant Delphiniums from Hilltop Garden Centre Essex

Plan Baskets and Containers with Bedding Plants

Bedding plants, or annuals, play a crucial role in adding bursts of colour to gardens during early spring. These versatile plants are perfect for various planting schemes, including hanging baskets, container planting, patio displays and balconies, creating inviting outdoor spaces to enjoy. Pop in to Hilltop Garden Centre near Clacton to browse our range of bedding plants, and use this month to plan colour schemes and get prepared for planting. When planting annuals, it's essential to choose the right compost - Rocket Gro Peat-Free Container & Basket compost (now on offer at just £13 for 2 bags) is the best compost for the job - to provide the nutrients they need to thrive. If you have a greenhouse, you can plant up hanging baskets and containers this month, keeping them protected from frost. Once the risk of frost has passed and the plants are getting stronger, you can transfer them to your garden or patio. Remember that regular watering and deadheading are essential for maintaining their health and promoting continuous blooming throughout the season.

Tip: Do not plant annuals in your garden if there is any chance of a frost. If the annuals you choose are not fully frost hardy, remember to protect from frost with fleece, in a cold frame, or in a greenhouse until the risk of frost has passed.

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