If you’re wondering when the rains will end and our gardens will stop looking like a battlefield, try to look on the positive side. Now that the clocks have gone forward, make good use of the extra hour of daylight and take a turn around your garden. You’ll soon see that, despite all the rain, spring has arrived as usual with buds beginning to open, shrubs starting to turn green and the first shoots bursting from the soil.

April is a busy month in the garden and here Richard Orton of Lewis Cottage Garden lists some of the most important jobs to be getting on with and suggests some Devon gardens to visit to find inspiration

Gardening jobs for April

Deadhead daffodils
  • Deadhead daffodils to encourage blooms for next year.
  • Tie in climbing and rambler roses.
  • Pinch out the tips of sweet peas to ensure bushy growth before planting out next month.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch as much of your borders as possible to suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
  • Try taking basal cuttings from clumps of perennials such as delphiniums, campanulas and lupins. This ensures continuity of colour rather than seed which doesn’t always come true.
  • Mature clumps of hardy perennials such as hostas, asters and daylilies can be reinvigorated by dividing and replanting. Check for perennial weeds such as ground elder & wash soil from plants to remove every trace.
Divide hostas
  • Prune winter flowering shrubs such as forsythia as soon as flowers fade to encourage new buds on current season growth.
  • Penstemons should be pruned back to the ground now provided there is new growth visible at the base.
  • Sow hardy annuals such as marigolds and love in a mist and don’t forget wild flowers too
  • Sow small batches of rocket and other easy salad leaves. We like the variety “Cut & come again”
  • Sow fast growing crops such as radishes to make best use of gaps amongst slower germinating crops such as parsnips
  • Carry on planting out crops of garlic, shallots and onions every few weeks to extend cropping time
  • Harden off sowings of peas and beans if you’ve used modules to get seeds started
  • Sow French beans, cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and sweetcorn in pots

Gardens open for the National Garden Scheme in the coming month

13th April             Little Dinworthy, Holsworthy

21st April             Andrew’s Corner Belstone

20th/21st April     Musselbrook Cottage Garden Beaworthy

5th May               Heathercombe , Manaton

More information on the garden at Lewis Cottage can be found here


More from 


View All