Spring is most definitely in the air and the garden is full of new beginnings!  We’ve expected April rain but have been showered instead with blistering sunshine.  But we aren’t complaining. We should be well clear of frost by now which means it’s a good time to think about injecting some colour into the garden. But before we get on to that we should just mention a few of the must do’s this month.  Keep on top of the weeding, deadhead your daffs and keep plants and shrubs well watered.  Your lawn might be having its first haircut but its important to make sure to keep your mower on the highest blade. It will also thank you for some high nitrogen fertiliser and a bit of new seed for any bald patches.

Dahlias. Photo: Hisu Lee
Cosmos. Photo: Mark Mingle
Chrysanthemums. Photo: Peter Oswald

Here are our top four recommendations for getting a bit of Spring colour and scent into your garden this April.

ACIDANTHERA: A cousin of the Gladiolus, it has a beautiful scent and lasts brilliantly in the vase, so says Sarah Raven (writes for The Saturday Telegraph & Gardens Illustrated). The flowers are pretty and delicate and the stems reach up to about 100cm. You can direct sow or plant outdoors from April onwards and it will flower August – October.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS: Dubbed one of the easiest perennials to grow (yah! shout all of us red fingers!) with a beautiful flower rich for the cutting. You just need to plant or sow now so that the roots have time to establish before the hot Summer weather  (yep, thats probably jinxed our Summer!). Chrysanthemums love it dark to get going so sow them in an extra deep hole. They love food and water. When the stems reach 6 inches tall, cut about 3/4 inch from each branch to promote growth.

DAHLIAS: These are another low maintenance shrub (you might be sensing a theme here) which has a really high production of cut flowers. Nothing nicer than having your own cut flowers on the kitchen table. They usually come as tubers (with a thickened part of the underground stem filled with nutrients). Dahlias also offer  an amazing choice of variety and colour.  Our favourite is the American Dawn (coral, apricot with a purple underside) or the spiky shaped rich purple ‘ambition’. Plant from April-June and you should have flowers from July to early December on a good year.

COSMOS: This is a beautiful, delicate flower that has an array of colour varieties.  The Dazzler and Purity are amongst our favourites. We love cosmos because it has a massive flower output to every square foot of planting. Its great for your kitchen vase and will produce auxiliary buds within a week or so of cutting provided you cut close to the main stem. You can seed or direct plant Cosmos from April to June. Expect to see flowers from June-November.  Cosmos are sun worshippers so choose your location well. Best to stake the stems once they are full height (90-100cm) so that the outer limbs don’t get broken if windy.

 

Acidanthera