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It's time to: April

Temperate climates

Summer bulbs have finished, so tidy up old leaves and remove seed heads. Dig up and divide summer perennials such as shasta daisies and perennial phlox. Discard tired old parts of the plant and replant the vigorous new plants from the outside of the clump.

If your front garden is looking colourless, plant a patch of annuals now for winter colour. Pansies, cinerarias and snapdragons are easy to grow and make a good impact. Dig in plenty of manure or compost before planting. For more inspiration, check out our feature on front gardens on page 51 and join in our program to make 2011 the Year of Welcome Home!

Start planting winter vegetables such as peas and broad beans, cabbage and silverbeet. Beetroot and carrot seeds are available in convenient seed tape to reduce the need for thinning. Protect young plants from snails and slugs. A saucer of beer is a remarkably good way of trapping these troublesome pests.


Cold climates

Keep up the grooming. Gardens in cool climates are thinking of packing up for winter, but a bit of dead-heading and judicious cutting back can delay the perception of decay.

Get bulbs in the ground. Alternatively, pot them: a dozen tulips in a pot makes triple the impact of the same number of bulbs in the ground.

Sow cool-climate herbs like chervil and coriander. They show far less tendency to bolt at this time of year, and can last several months in the garden, compared to only weeks during warmer weather.


When you have an hour

Go shopping at your local nursery for new or quirky pots to refresh your display. Repot with fresh, top quality potting mix.


When you have 10 minutes

Browse catalogues to colour co-ordinate sweet peas with your climbing roses. Burgundy and purple Lathyrus ‘Matucana’ would make a rich combination with red ‘Pierre de Ronsard’; Lathyrus ‘Shades of Blue’ would contrast well with a yellow rose such as ‘Gold Bunny’. Both these varieties of sweet pea are available from Sow sweet peas now for a beautiful spring display.


Text: Libby Cameron & Michael McCoy

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Author: Libby Cameron