What to Do in the Garden This Week - April 23rd

Published on April 23rd 2020
A close up of dahlia flowers
Plants are putting on a spurt of growth now and some will need support. At last, we can plant up more pots with colour, and there's plenty of exciting under cover planting to do!

Border plants

Aphids on a hellebore plant
Here are some of my favourite varieties:
  • Use ericaceous compost (which has a low pH) to mulch winter-flowering heathers when they finish flowering. Trim the tops of flowering shoots off to keep the plants compact.
  • If your garden is in the southern half of the UK, you can plant dahlia tubers straight into your borders. If you live further north or at high elevation, then it will pay you to wait a couple of weeks. Soak the roots in water for 10 to 12 hours before planting and remember to be ready with slug and snail controls as soon as the first shoots emerge.
A close up of a clematis flower
  • Add height to your flower border with a wigwam of sweet peas, or an obelisk covered by a climbing rose or Clematis for a more permanent effect.
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Pots and containers

  • Plant up pots and containers to brighten up dull corners. Potted bulbs, Senetii, violas and pansies look great and give an instant colour fix!
  • If your garden is sheltered, you could use summer bedding plants but watch out for late frosts.
  • Plant up hanging baskets for summer but keep them inside with some protection until they are established. Two to three weeks in a greenhouse, conservatory, glazed porch or polytunnel will make all the difference!
  • If you have very little space, you can still have a pretty planted container! Fill a sink with drought-tolerant Sedum or trendy succulent plants.
red geranium flowers in a window box
  • Plant up window boxes with plants that can be viewed from inside and outside too. Pelargonium maybe the obvious choice, but that's because they perform well!

Home Grown Food

  • Plant tomato plants under protection. (It's too early for outside until at least late May). You should get away with no heat at this stage but have a heater ready if hard frost is forecast.
  • Plant courgette, peppers and chillies in unheated greenhouses or polytunnels. These will tolerate lower temperatures than tomatoes.
Cucumber Mini Star fruits
  • Plant cucumbers. These do need heat. Grow the all-female varieties as these don't need the removal of male flowers to make the female fruits taste bitter. I find that the mini cucumber varieties are excellent and very prolific.
  • Make the first outdoor sowing of French beans. I recommend ‘Safari’, but there are lots of other good ones. This sort of bean is best sown every two to three weeks so that you get succession. Climbing 'Blue Lake', 'Cobra' and 'Hunter' are suitable climbing varieties too.
Runner bean St George plant in a garden
  • Sow runner beans in pots or ‘Rootrainers’ inside. Grow a large yielding stringless variety such as ‘Butler, or ‘Moonlight'. For a substantial yield without sacrificing produce, 'St George' is semi stringless and has done very well for me. 'St George' is also a variety that looks good enough to plant in a flower border as it has red and white blooms.
Have a fantastic week growing!
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