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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Hop into the garden: Judy Sharpe

An early Easter is ideal for gardening as the perfect weather, following a good soaking of rain, gives gardeners enthusiasm to dig and plant.

Prepare garden beds for winter flowers and vegetables by fertilising with poultry manure.

Leave at least one week before planting cabbages, cauliflower and pansies.

April is also an ideal month to select new-season Sasanqua camellias, which flower in shades of white through to deepest pink. 

The planting of these hardy shrubs at this time ensures stability and growth before winter. 

In fact, when I drove up my drive yesterday, I was amazed to see my hedge in full flower.

Where has the year gone?

Plants are a good indicator of the seasons and, of course, Sasanquas begin flowering in March, it just slipped by me.

These tall growing, hardy shrubs are members of the tea family, which prefer an acidic soil, are great for hedging, as specimen plants.

They make great pot specimens, too.

One of the easiest perennials to grow for white blooms during April are Autumn Crocus.

Check out the great display in Lambton Park, where the rose beds have been bordered with the crocus – my compliments to the park staff.

Miserable summer annuals, now waterlogged, should be removed as April is an ideal month to plant out primula, stock, pansies and poppies, which are traditionally planted on Anzac Day.

If planting out spring flowering bulbs, don’t forget to give hyacinths and tulips two weeks in the fridge crisper to trick them as the cold triggers their growth. 

Remember when planting to fertilise, then again on emergence and when the foliage is dying down.

Perennials such as clivia, agapanthus, iris and native violets can all be split during April for re-planting.

Enjoy Easter, have fun in the garden and travel safely.

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