Gardening jobs for if it ever stops raining!

There are lots of ways to keep busy on your garden visits in April. The weather has delayed some jobs but there is still lots to do:

Garden maintenance

  • Put a bag of barley straw in ponds to discourage algae and keep the water clear all summer
  • Lay turf or sow grass seed to create a new lawn or repair damaged patches
  • Cut back tatty old fern fronds to make way for new ones that are starting to unfurl
  • Keep cloches or large sheets of fleece handy to protect young plants if late frost is forecast
  • Cut away unwanted suckers growing around the base of trees and shrubs
  • Hoe between rows of veg seedlings regularly, as weeds grow rapidly at this time of year
  • Remove moss and weeds in turf, and boost growth with a nitrogen-rich lawn feed
  • Check that guttering on sheds and greenhouses is clear of debris, so that April showers will fill up water butts
  • Add new aquatic plants to ponds and divide established plants that have outgrown their baskets
  • Put pumps and fountains back into ponds, thoroughly cleaning the filters first
  • Treat problem weeds, such as nettles and brambles
  • Look out for clusters of aphids on shoot tips and young leaves, and wipe off before they multiply
  • Keep putting out food for birds, as they’re busy raising their broods

Flowers and plants

  • Enjoy instant colour by planting primulas and polyanthus in pots and at the front of borders
  • Protect the new shoots of hostas, delphiniums, lupins and other vulnerable plants from slugs and snails
  • Continue deadheading spring bulbs and bedding, so they don’t waste energy setting seed
  • Plant pineapple lily (eucomis) bulbs in pots for exotic-looking summer flowers
  • Sow sweet peas at the base of supports, and transplant those sown in autumn into their final positions
  • Spray the new leaves of disease-prone roses with fungicide to control mildew, rust and black spot
  • Take basal cuttings from clumps of perennials, such as delphiniums, campanulas and lupins
  • Prune hydrangeas, cutting back the old stems to a healthy shoot lower down
  • Reinvigorate mature clumps of hardy perennials, such as hostas, astersand daylilies, by dividing and replanting
  • Sow sunflowers in a sunny, open site, then water regularly and protect seedlings from slugs and snails
  • Check for aphids on roses and rub them off before they develop into major infestations
  • Add aquatic plants, such as waterlilies and irises, to garden ponds
  • Sow hardy annuals, such as love-in-a-mist and pot marigolds, as well as native wildflowers, into gaps in borders