Printemps ou Spring Time

April

forsythia

OK, I trust that we have all survived March? No injuries to backs, hands and other body parts.

General tip for April

If you have not already started, you may well want to make and keep a diary of when, what and where you have planted various vegetables, plants, trees and bushes this year. Over the coming years you will have recorded your results for future reference and got to know your garden a little better.

Lawn care

aeration sandalsAssuming that we have got our lawns to a manageable 2 to 3 inches by using progressive cuts now is the time to aerate again. This time for best results, we need to scarify it as well, time to get rid of any moss or dead grass and if needed another re-seed.

If you did not fertilize in March do it now, again use a slow release fertilizer if you can. It is also a good time to fill in any ruts, troughs and holes, re seeding as you fill. Small garden humps can be leveled either by cutting the turf back and removing the cause or if you have the means, by a roller.

dense lawnMowing is not as easy as we think and we will be well on our way to spending most of our time either on a sit on or using a push mower. Depending on what you want your lawn to do or how you want it to look; mowing is part of that process.
The simple rule is this, the more you mow the stronger and tighter your grass will grow, though it will also mean your grass will grow more quickly equating to more cuts.

Some of us could be happy with a cut every two weeks, though, leave it any longer and it can turn into a nightmare to cut and nearly impossible to maintain to its best.

Gardeners in the UK like to cut once a week but here in the Limousin most French gardeners like to cut every 9 days, yes, it is that precise.

Plants

Continue to keep an eye on any promotions that may appear at various supermarkets or garden centres. Be careful that you do not purchase anything that should really have been planted in early March.

Now is the time start looking at dividing perennials such as liriope and hosta.

dividing perennialsHere is a good method that you may wish to try. Check the soil around the plant and check it for moisture, will the plant come up without too much effort? If not, water and leave for 2 to 3 days. Return and dig up the clump. Separate the plant, using two spades, and inspect the roots before deciding where to cut. Make sure that you have at least one crown on each of the two halves you are about to replant. Replant at the same depth as removal.

It’s a also good time to keep a check on container plants, remember that they will need plenty of fertiliser and frequent watering, especially during warm weather, please remember to keep protecting them from frost.

Remember to continue dead heading either your earlier bulbs and begin to look at larger bulbs such as tulips, narcissus and hyacinths. Try not to cut the foliage as you deadhead. Another tip is to feed your bulbs as they flower, the reason is that they are heavy feeders and need as much as they can while in bloom.

a good time to plant trees and shrubsNow is a great time for planting trees, shrubs, roses and perennials, just be sure to check the weather, as a late cold frosty night can appear with very little warning depending where you live in the region. If you find a cold night is forecast, as with all plants that are vulnerable to frost, cover with a fleece.

As leaves begin to appear on trees, start to look if any insects or pests are trying to take hold. You may also want to pay particular attention to Azaleas, Pyracantha, Rhododendron, and Pieris as these too can be susceptible to various bugs.

Feeding, Cleaning and Pests

take care when sprayingIf you chemically spray, now is a good time to dispose of any old out of date products. Make sure you dispose of them safely and responsibly and store new and unused items in a locked container. Read and understand all the information on the label, as different types of chemicals can be and are used here in France. These may have different requirements to the products you have been used to in the UK. Take particular care to note the time required between application and the return of adults, children and pets to the garden.

Golden rule, play it safe, know what you are about to use and how to use it safely, if you don‘t, find out how to. Needless to say, do not spray on a windy day and always wear a suitable mask, eye protection and protective clothing.

Once you are sure the threat of hard frost has passed and it is now time to start planting your hardier annuals. Fertilise with a bloom starter as you plant.

It’s time to clean up the patio and garden furniture. There are lots of various methods and products available, all have their pro’s and con’s, how you prefer to do it, is up to you.

slug trapThe Limace, how did the wood ash work? Here are a few more eco friendly slug and snail defence tips. Crushed egg shell is supposed to be very good, again spread around the base of plants; also a copper ring around the base of plants is believed to work well. You can of course use the beer trap, simply poor some beer in a jar lid and leave, sadly or gleefully the slugs will perish via this method. I would recommend that you refresh the beer after rain.

N.B.Ensure you remove all deceased slugs as they can be harmfull to birds and other wildlife.

Well that is it for now, happy gardening and see you next month.
Mark

Article kindly provided by Mark from Oak Garden Services

You can contact Mark directly if you would like more information on gardening or the services they offer

Tel: 05 55 98 62 03
Email: [email protected]

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