“The sun was warm, but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.”
– Robert Frost
Luminous lime green hedgerows shout out that spring has now well and truly arrived! And they’re not the only ones shouting, the birds are now in a frenzy and an early morning get-up to listen to their song is well worthwhile.
There’s much to do in the garden this month, helped by lengthening days but hindered by those April showers. The Beast from the East may have gone but left behind some very cold soil in parts of the country so do check it before you start to sow. If the soil is cold on your hand then it will be cold on the seed. So, be patient and wait. The warmth will come.
During the worst of the April showers take cover, make a brew and look through our latest set of catalogues.
Our top ten recommended tasks this month include:
- Sow sweet peas direct where they are to flower and plant out any that you sowed in the autumn, having first hardened them off.
- Deadhead your spring flowering bulbs and keep them weed free. Allow the leaves to die down naturally.
- Herbs can be sown in pots on the windowsill to give you fresh ingredients throughout the summer.
- Feed any citrus plants with Citrus Tree Summer Feed. They can also be pruned now, but only if really needed.
- Plants kept in containers will appreciate having the top few centimetres of soil replaced with fresh compost mixed with controlled release fertiliser. Top with a mulch to aid moisture retention.
- Sow cut-n-come again salad crops, a little and often and you won’t need to buy supermarket salad leaves in plastic bags all summer.
- Now is the time to start hardening off vegetable plants and others that you have been protecting from late frosts. Put them outside for a few hours each day before finally leaving out overnight and planting.
- Houseplants will benefit from increased watering. In just a couple of months you’ll be able to put them outside for their summer holiday.
- Summer flowering bulbs and dahlias can now be planted. Keep them watered and protect young shoots from rampaging slugs
- Now is a good time to repair an existing lawn or to sow a new one. Just make sure the sowing area is firm and level.
Grafted Vegetable Plants
Increase your harvest by up to 75%!
A grafted plant is the result of bringing two plants together to form one, with the combined best attributes of both. The base of the plant will be a vigorous disease resistant healthy rootstock to which will be grafted a superior tasting variety.
There is nothing GM or Frankenstein about grafted plants however it certainly is a skilled process. The tops of the fruiting variety and the super-strong rootstock are carefully and skillfully removed by hand Most commercially grown tomatoes in the UK are grown on grafted plants. The growers simply get more from each plant. Peppers, chillies, aubergines, melons, squashes and cucumbers are all other great grafted vegetables, providing, using a small blade to slice at an angle across each stem.
The rootstock bottom and the top of the fruiting variety are then grafted together using a special clip which drops off naturally as the plant grows. All of this takes place in our own nursery.
When a plant is grafted the whole growing lifecycle is improved:
• Big increases in yield from larger more vigorous plants – up to 75% more
• Earlier cropping yet with sufficient vigour to crop well later in the season
• Ability to grow in the greenhouse or outdoor with little or no heating required
• Excellent soil-borne pest and disease resistance– no more ring culture or grow bags – plant straight in the soil
• Greater tolerance to nutritional disorders
There’s a Buzz Here at Suttons!
In last month’s newsletter we shared the exciting news that Suttons has recently acquired National Bee Supplies. Our gardens need bees and bees need our gardens so the match of the two companies is perfect.
Whether you are completely new to bee keeping or a seasoned expert we can now supply all that you need to keep your bees well. If you haven’t yet received a copy of our new catalogue, then please request one or browse our website.
Perhaps you don’t want to keep bees but care about them nonetheless and want to encourage them to visit and to pollinate your garden? Our range of nectar rich lavenders are perfect for the job having been specially chosen as the bees’ top choice.
The toughest lavender ever – hardy to -15°C
A tidy plant that won’t turn “leggy”
Ideal for both sun and shade
Lavender Forever Blue
Blooms earlier and for longer than other varieties
Compact and bushy
Great for containers and borders or for using as hedging
Our best seller and deservedly so with its deep violet flowers
Compact and intensely aromatic
The perfect English lavender
All Year Round Colour
We may be moving quickly into spring and the dream of colour returning to our gardens an imminent reality. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also be thinking and planning ahead to when our summer displays begin to fade and we look for something else to add colour and interest to our outdoor spaces.
Evergreen shrubs are ideal for filling gaps in between seasons and this collection of Photinia, Skimmia and Prunus are perfect for adding all year round colour and interest in either the garden or on the patio. Perfect for planting out now, not only will they help to enhance your garden in spring but will give it that extra bit of interest when there is little else happening.
Fancy a Day Out?
Plenty of spring gardens will be worth a visit this month so pick up a copy of the NGS Yellow Book. April also sees the start of the Flower Show season with the following well worth a visit:
Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show – 7th to 8th April
Newbury Garden Show – 13th to 15th April
RHS Flower Show Cardiff – 13th to 15th April
Harrogate Spring Flower Show – 26th to 29th April