April in the Garden

It’s not surprising the delicate daisy of April is associated with gentleness and innocence. The famous “He loves me, he loves me not” plucking of petals originated with this flower.

Through the fall and winter we’ve planned, pruned, pinched, watered, and mulched. Now it’s really time to do what we love best – plant!! It’s safe to plant (and mulch) anything you wish, anything you can get your hands on – seeds, seedlings, bedding plants, succulents, cuttings , fern. Let your imagination run wild with the bounty of nature, but don’t overcrowd. Keep the final result in mind and if you have more cuttings than space, go for a trade over the garden gate. Talk to your friends and neighbors and set up a plant exchange such as you might do with Christmas cookies.

POINSETTIAS

It’s time to prune. Pinch out the growing point every four leaves to ensure compact bushes and many blooms. A more severe pruning may be appropriate later, but this nipping helps shape the plant. Remove the red bracts and part of the stem from your plants. Leave three or four leaves on each remaining stem. (It hurts, but it has to be done or the plant will just wither away.)

EASTER LILIES

Plant your potted lily in a bed that will give it half a day’s sun in winter and spring, but protection from the hot summer sun. After the foliage dies down, the plant will be dormant until it begins to grow again next winter.

PLAN

Make a schedule for fertilizing and spraying, maybe rough out a calendar for dates to fertilize, spray, weed, etc. Remember that the beds you have already mulched, while needing a minimum of care, still require upkeep. Weeds don’t voluntarily leave the bed, and they do consume nutrients vital to the growth of what you want to thrive there.

Migrations are close to starting, so prepare for the fauna you hope to see. Use Blue Mist and/or Butterfly Weed to attract and feed butterflies. Buy extra birdseed. Stock oranges for orioles and sugar water for hummingbirds. You get the idea!

PROTECTION Continue to mulch. Water deeply, especially around trees and shrubs. Your goal is to get water at least 18 inches deep around trees and shrubs and 6 inches deep around smaller plants. Provide wind protection for small trees (Google: staking).

Continue harvesting early tomatoes and other vegetables and whatever citrus remains.