“Spring would not be spring without bird songs“.
~ Francis M. Chapman
In these unusual times, our gardens remain an oasis of calm, largely unaffected by the latest news. In April many of us are already taking time out in our gardens as the most effective way of relaxing and switching off from the everyday troubles of the world and there is plenty of evidence to show gardening is good for our wellbeing too. Did you know gardening is one of the top 5 hobbies in the UK? It is a wonderful pastime, whether you have an allotment, garden or a balcony.
The birds are tweeting, the buds are bursting and the bees are buzzing. Hurrah for April, spring has finally arrived! The time for us to really start putting plans into action so that the wonderful summer garden we hold in our heads can become a reality. The clocks have sprung forward, the days are lengthening, and the soil is warming.
Do make sure that you’ve ordered all the seeds and plants that you will need as stocks will be running out this month. In this month’s newsletter, we are going to be running through whats seed to sow, veg to plant and a fantastic range of garden activities you could be doing this coming Easter weekend. From making your own bee hotel and Easter-themed wreath to experimenting with super seed bombs!
If the weather allows you to do nothing else this month try and complete a few odd jobs in the garden or on the plot. Here’s a list of 10 jobs to get busy on the plot this month:
- Sweet peas can be sown directly this month. No garden should be without some of these perfumed beauties.
- If your sage is looking straggly then rejuvenate it by cutting to just above ground level. This will encourage fresh new shoots that will grow into a neater-looking plant.
- Late frost will kill off fruit blossom so keep some fleece handy. But do remember to remove it to allow pollinating insects access.
- Plug plants potted on now and kept in the greenhouse will put on a glorious display this summer. Dobies’ colour-themed collections are a perfect, and easy, way to fill your tubs and hanging baskets with colour.
- Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes can all be sown in a heated greenhouse or propagator.
- Plant onion sets when the soil is dry.t.
- If your asparagus beds are at least 2-years old then any spears can be cut using a sharp knife or better still, a made-for-purpose asparagus knife.
- Half-hardy flowers can be sown in trays and kept on a windowsill or in the greenhouse.
- For the lawn, rake out any dead moss with a scarifier and then fork over to improve drainage.
- April is a great time for sowing new lawns and repairing bare patches!
Want to know more? Check out our April on the Allotment blog for more tips and tricks on the plot!
April Flowers to Sow
Springing into spring, April is the month when half-hardy flowers can be sown indoors, including french marigold, nemesia, rudbeckia and cosmos. Or you could start sowing hardier seeds, like oxalis and clarkia, straight into the garden.
An improved selection of ‘Faberge‘ with a larger proportion of highly domed, scabious flowers. This stunning mix of red, orange and yellow blooms is a real showstopper in the garden and in the home.
Exotic, extremely attractive flowers, perfect for budding flower arrangers. Perfect for a sunny spot in the garden or in a container. Ideal to direct sow. Flowers July-September.
An impressive trailing mixture from seed to rival the famous Surfinia cutting raised varieties. Excellent colour range on trailing foliage.
Plants are quick to flower as the shoots begin to extend. A great choice for baskets and containers. HHA – Half hardy annual.
Try this summer-long performer in borders or containers on the patio or in the conservatory. The 2cm diameter blooms open gradually along the flower spikes giving weeks of colour from every spike.
In shades of blue, purple, lavender, pink and white. And it requires no ‘dead heading’! Impressive sun lover for a hot sunny border. Drought resistant. Excellent performer in patio pots or in the conservatory.
New Flower Seed
The Allium Seeds – Yellow Allium are a rare variety of Allium. Originating in Tibet, this exotic variety produces stunning, sunshine yellow flowers in neat globular, 8cm blooms. This makes them perfect for creating beautiful container and patio pot flower displays that can really brighten up your garden.
The Allium Seeds – Yellow Allium are incredibly winter-hardy, down to -20°C! Grow these fantastic flowers in your flower beds and flower borders for colourful displays that will form perennial clumps year after year. The Allium Seeds – Yellow Allium are a real treat in the garden and not just for you because they are loved by bees and will be buzzing with local wildlife in no time.
April Veg to Sow
From April onwards, it’s warm enough to sow a good selection of vegetable varieties directly outside, including carrots, peas, beetroot, winter cabbages, broccoli and salad leaves. In a warm greenhouse, it’s time to start off pumpkins, squashes and courgettes, as well as sow some tomato seed in your propagator.
“Red Rubine’ is a Brussels Sprout with a difference, it’s red/purple in colour. This variety grows to around 90cm (3’) tall and has deep purple foliage. This makes ‘Red Rubine’ very ornamental in the veg garden. The sprouts are the size of walnuts, with a nutty/sprout flavour and they keep their red colour when cooked. I like to roast my sprouts, they go crispy-skinned and velvety in the middle. Perfect to add interest to your Christmas dinner. This variety is extremely frost hardy and will stand well through the winter. Don’t forget that ‘Red Rubine’ sprout ‘tops’ are a really tasty veg in their own right.”
Vigorous plants producing attractive orange curds best harvested when approximately 10-18cm (4-7”) across.
There’s no need to cover the curds from the sun.
For best results keep plants evenly moist during the growing season. Harvest September-November.
These unusual climbing/trailing plants are easy to grow up canes or trailing out of a basket, and will provide a good crop of unusual little fruits that look like tiny watermelons, and boast a flavour that is a unique combination of cucumber and lime.
And they’ll keep fruiting all summer! The smallest and tastiest mini grape-sized ‘cucumber’!
New Veg Seed
The Chard Seeds – Peppermint is a new and extremely attractive two-tone Swiss chard. which produces spectacular coloured leaves once the plants have established. Graduating from flamingo pink to white and with deep green coloured leaves, this variety of chard will not only add flurries of colour to your vegetable patch but can decorate any flower border it is added to. This new colourway will really pop in your flower borders accompanied by flower varieties.
The leaves of the Chard – Peppermint can be used just like spinach or cabbage! The mid-ribs can be cooked as separate vegetables or shredded and added to soups or casseroles to really enhance your dishes.
April Veg to Plant
Offers This Month
Community Garden Week
April 5th is the beginning of community garden week and it celebrates the incredible community gardens across the UK. Community gardens come in all shapes and sizes, but most importantly, they bring people together. Working together and inspiring each other, what’s not to love? Our Dobies community spreads up and down the country and you keep us up to date with your gardening antiques on our social media pages and on the blog.
Do you follow any online gardening communities? Here’s a list of some great ones below!
- Gardening Hints And Tips – Facebook
- Gardeners World – Facebook
- Wildlife Gardening Forum – Facebook
- Gardener’s Corner – Online friendly Forum
Social Posts of the Month #dobiesgardening
We like to share with the Dobies community what everyone has been up to each month on the plot. It looks like March was the time for Rob Smith seeds, growing Dahlias and creating handmade seed labels!
Below are our top 5 social posts of the previous month and if you would like the chance to be featured in next month’s newsletter, all you need to do is tag us and use the hashtag #dobiesgardening.
Follow us on our social media pages and tag us in your posts and you could be featured on our next monthly newsletter!
Make Your Own Bee Hotel
Make bees welcome in your home by crafting these fun and easy to make bee hotels. Simply hang this bee house in your garden and help the conservation of our native bees.
- Step 1: Start by using a clean tin can or another cylinder, opened at both ends, and thread through a length of thick garden string so that you can hang up your bee hotel.
- Step 2: Next up you need to fill your frame. You can either use hollow plant stems or bamboo canes, but if you do not have either of those you can use paper or card.
- Step 3: Either use a piece of thin card or a few sheets of paper and wrap around a pencil and secure with a bit of tape. Make sure your paper rolls are smaller than the length of your can to give protection from the rain.
- Step 4: Add some twigs sticks or straw to offer a home for other insects too!
- Step 5: If you want to get creative you can decorate the tin can or cylinder with some bright colours to attract bees to their new home.
- Step 6: Finally, choose a location for your hotel, an open sunny spot is best, and secure so it doesn’t move around in the wind. A really great way to teach children about the importance of bees!
How to Make Super Seeds Bombs (Eggs) for Easter
April to June or this Easter weekend is the perfect time for seed bomb-making. It’s a great activity for children, who will learn about different types of seeds and flowers, how they grow and what wildlife they attract.
- Step 1: Using your mug as a scoop, add 3 mugfuls of compost to the bucket.
- Step 2: Empty the seeds into the bucket and mix everything together with your hands.
- Step 3: Get your separate bowl ready for step 4.
- Step 4: Fill your mug with flour and add this to the empty bowl.
- Step 5: Add some water, a little at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon – keep adding water until your flour mixture is thick and gloopy.
- Step 6: Pour the flour and water mix into the bucket containing the compost and seed.
- Step 7: Mix everything together with your wooden spoon – it should form a thick ‘dough’.
- Step 8: Break off a piece of ‘dough’, gently roll it in your hands and make a golf-ball-sized seed bomb. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.
- Step 9: Place the balls on a tray (or in a box) and let them to dry for 24 hours.
- Step 10: Head outside to the garden to scatter your seed bombs!
Easter Themed Wreath
Wreaths don’t have to be exclusive to Christmas, and we’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide of how to make your own wreath at home.
- Step 1: Let’s begin with the base. This is a willow wreath. You can purchase plain willow wreaths online for around £5-10 or make your own. Willow is super flexible and if you get your willow together you can soak it in water overnight or a day or two depending on the thickness and it will become as flexible as you need. When the willow is ready, bend a long stip into a repeating circle and glue it in place with a hot glue gun. Depending on the willow, you can bend multiple strips into a circular shape and hold them in place with the hot glue gun. See the image on the left for reference.
- Step 2: Collect your decorating materials. This could be a case of using cutting flowers from the garden, false flowers, painted eggshells, ribbons, soft toys and any other decorations you desire. See images below for inspiration.
- Step 3: There are a few different ways you can attach your decorations to the wreath. One way is to use a hot glue gun to hold it in place and another is to wrap string or thread around the decoration and wreath tightly. Some use fishing wire so you can’t see it!
- Step 4: Hang up your wreath! This could be on the front door, the back door, the garden gate or shed. Or even indoors! wherever you like this wreath can hang we just advise it’s not in a spot that catches too much wind and gales!
Here’s Some Examples for Inspiration
This month should be a busy one and there’s plenty to be done on the plot. If you have enjoyed reading, please come back next month and check out our May newsletter next month. Remember to share any of your growing antics with us this April on our social media pages!
Check out our latest blog posts below!