Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the April issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’.  The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk

IMG_7807I am hoping that by the time you read this we will have turned a corner and Spring really will be here to stay.  Our secret garden has taken quite a pounding over the winter months with a seemingly endless barrage of storms, the penultimate being the Beast from the East delivering a generous helping of snow, wind and bitterly cold temperatures.  Any life that was starting to appear above ground level was well and truly halted and time will no doubt reveal a few casualties with some of the more tender perennials.

As we enter April it really is time to look forward and focus on the growing months ahead.  Investing a little time and money now will pay dividends later.  If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to clear any remaining leaves which have drifted onto borders and trim and tidy up the withered growth from last year’s perennials.  This can be a delicate task and one which should not be rushed for fear of accidentally trimming this year’s growth.

Possibly a gardner’s least favourite job, but a few hours spent lifting any weeds or self-sown seedlings before they have established a root network is time well spent.  Perennials such as Sisyrinchium striatum and annuals such as Myosotis (Forget-me-Not) are prolific self-seeders and will appear throughout your garden in abundance if you don’t keep on top of them.  I love a few ‘free plants’ and tend to rescue some of the seedlings, potting them up to replant in gaps elsewhere in the garden later in the season.  The bonus of ‘free plants’ is that you don’t feel too guilty if at a later date you decide to dig them up in order to introduce a new planting scheme.

April is also the time to be pruning the early flowering spring shrubs, such as Forsythia x intermedia, allowing them time to put on new growth over the summer months which will produce next year’s blooms.

It is such a wonderful time of year as the garden springs back into life.  This in turn injects us gardeners with a burst of energy and enthusiasm to once again create and be at one with nature.

The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.co.uk

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