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lots of daffodils

What to do in your garden in April

April is the month when the garden starts to put on a show – getting ready for a floral display or maybe the rich burst of new leaves. It is the combination of increasing temperature and water (from the April showers) that triggers it.

For this reason the key task in April is probably weeding out what you don’t want and editing what you do want; where there is danger of one plant taking over at the expense of something else, either through the judicious use of the secateurs or moving a smaller, less robust plant to a different spot.

If you’ve planted up your garden with low maintenance in mind then ground cover is the key, whether they are creeping plants or just the sheer size of the plants coming into their own and shading out the weeds. For this reason, except in the first year or two after you’ve had a new garden created, the editing and weeding process should ideally be fairly quick and painless.

It was the Victorians, with their mass of cheap labour, who wanted a garden to look like a museum of floral specimens surrounded by bare soil which then needed forever weeding on bended knee. Our focus should be on providing a haven for ourselves and for nature instead.

The other thing you need to do is decide what to do about slugs and snails. I never advocate pesticides for two reasons – first that they risk poisoning beneficial creatures in your garden and upsetting the food chain to the detriment of the garden and its running, and second you are fighting a losing battle. You therefore need to decide how much effort you want to make. To save particular plants use beer traps, emptying regularly (onto the compost heap), and pick up any you see on a damp evening and move them somewhere else. However, snails have a homing instinct over distances below 20 metres, so it may not be worth moving them over a shorter distance than that. Alternatively avoid leafy plants that will look the poorer for showing signs of nibbling and get on with enjoying your garden. You may own it in the eyes of the legal system but ultimately you are sharing it and you can relax a lot more when you accept that!

April is a fantastic month to just enjoy your garden – so why not go and do that now? It’s better than Netflix!