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Garden Diary for April 2014

April’s fool’s day is over and April weather started! Gorgeous yesterday, the warmest day so far; horrible today! Well, no reason to mourn, there is plenty of work to be done inside the glasshouse at the moment.
Our potting benches are nearly overflowing with trays and we need a very strict time table to get through the whole lot. Once potted on and left few days inside the glasshouse the more hardy plants will be moved out under the coldframes.

Pic1 ‘Potting time’
Pic1 ‘Potting time’
Pic2 Coldframes
Pic2 Coldframes

Our willow nursery got a hard cutting back last week. The fresh willow will be used to repair our willow structure outside the teahouse and for supports for the next generation of sweet peas. Dried willow will be later on used in our Herbaceous Border to support taller varieties of perennials.

Pic3 Harvested & graded willow
Pic3 Harvested & graded willow

Our vegetable garden is getting planted up bit by bit. The dark soil in the freshly rotovated plots looks very fertile and clean and it is hard to imagine that only in a couple of weeks most plots will be covered with all kind of crops.

Pic4 Newly planted potato plot
Pic4 Newly planted potato plot
Pic5 Broad beans waiting to be planted
Pic5 Broad beans waiting to be planted

We also prepared new ridges and planted out our heritage varieties of strawberries. The variety ‘Royal Sovereign’ (Fragasia x ananassa) dating from 1892, was bred by Thomas Laxton, who can be considered the ‘father’ of the modern strawberry. We also planted a couple of the wild or wood strawberries (Fragaria vesca), which has much smaller fruits. The wild strawberry was the predecessor of the modern strawberry and was bred the first time in Brittany in France around 1750.

Pic6 Newly planted Strawberry ridges
Pic6 Newly planted Strawberry ridges

Finally the main bulk of our spring flowers emerged and started to flower nicely throughout the flower garden.
Fritillaria imperalis ’Aurora’, the orange flowering Crown Imperial and ‘Maxima Lutea’, the yellow variety are just starting to open up their huge flower heads. We actually had to move the orange one inside the vinery for shelter. They were planted in terracotta pots and were not stable enough to be left out during strong winds. We also staked all the flower stems for support.

Pic7 Crown Imperial ‘Aurora’
Pic7 Crown Imperial ‘Aurora’
Pic8 Crown Imperial ‘Maxima Lutea’
Pic8 Crown Imperial ‘Maxima Lutea’

Also the yellow flowering Hyacinth ‘City of Haarlem, dating back to 1893, Fritillaria meleagris (Snake heads fritillaria) and Narcissus ‘Butter & Eggs’ add to the flowering display at the moment.

Pic9 Hyacinth ‘City of Haarlem’
Pic9 Hyacinth ‘City of Haarlem’
Pic10 Narcissus ‘Butter & Eggs’
Pic10 Narcissus ‘Butter & Eggs’
Pic11 Snake heads fritillaria
Pic11 Snake heads fritillaria

The frosty nights are over (so I hope!) and we started to move out tender plants like palms. The sheltered space inside the vinery is needed for pelargoniums and fuchsias.

Pic12 Tender plants enjoy fresh air
Pic12 Tender plants enjoy fresh air

The herbaceous border is also getting a makeover. Tidied, top dressed with our own well-rotted compost and fed with chicken manure…the new growing season can start!

Pic13 Herbaceous border is getting manured
Pic13 Herbaceous border is getting manured

There a plenty of spring flowers on the grounds of Kylemore leading to the Walled Garden, too. Just in front of our crafty shop is a nice window box with a selection of colourful bedding plants. This is easy enough to achieve and everybody can create a spring feeling at home by planting up all types of boxes, buckets or pots with a variety of spring bulbs and plants.

Pic14 Spring display at the Kylemore Craft Shop
Pic14 Spring display at the Kylemore Craft Shop

Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

Things you can do in your garden in April:

To Sow / Propagate:

~ Continue potting on and harden off bedding plants
~ Continue sowing later summer beddings
~ Sow Tomatoes and Cucumber in modules
~ Continue sowing lettuce for succession planting
~ Sow carrots in situ later in the month

To plant:
~ Plant out sweet peas and put up climbing supports
~ Plant out peas, mangetouts and spring onion
~ Plant main crop potatoes
~ Plant herbaceous plants

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Clean and prepare Hanging Baskets for May planting
~ Continue lawn care like aerating and sanding, feeding and weeding
~ Sow new lawns or top dress and resow damaged patches
~ Start to trim formal box and fuchsia hedges