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It's time to: April

All areas

Do the essential shopping - get the new tap/hose fitting/watering can you’ve needed for months.


Cold climates

Check for cabbage moth larvae on all brassicas. Spray with Dipel.

Order and plant spring bulbs.


Temperate climates

Feed lawns with a complete fertiliser to give them a boost before the onset of winter.

Deadhead dahlias regularly to keep them looking great. Spray any mildew with Eco-fungicide.



Plant annual seeds or seedlings, such as calendula, cornflower or lobelia.

Upsize potted plants that have outgrown their home into something more suitable. Ditch poor performers. Liquid fertilise all of them.

Need more light? Now is a good time to judiciously prune excessive branches of trees.


Tropical climates

Push plants to one last growth spurt before the cooler weather by lightly pruning.

Spend 10 minutes a day weeding and mulch as you go to delay the inevitable next time.


When you have 10 minutes

Hyacinths store all the energy they need to grow in their bulb, so you can grow them indoors to enjoy their incredible scent, in a process called forcing. All you need is a forcing vase (available at nurseries), some charcoal pieces, water and a hycacinth bulb. Put the charcoal at the bottom of the vase to prevent the growth of algae. Fill the vase with water to 5mm below the bottom of the hyacinth bulb. The pointy end of the bulb should face up. Leave the hyacinth vase in a dark, cool place for 8 to 10 weeks. The water level should always remain just below the bulb: the roots will find the water and fill the vase. Bring the vase into the light when the hyacinth stem is about 50mm and enjoy the beautiful fragrance as the bulb blooms. Make it last longer by keeping it away from heaters and throw the bulb away when the flower is spent.

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Author: Ally Jackson