Trees, Shrubs and Roses
Evergreen trees and shrubs, both broad-leaved and coniferous types, can be planted or moved as the sap rises over the coming month or so. A good watering at planting and two weeks later is usually all they need, but young trees and shrubs need to be watched during early summer dry spells. Deciduous trees will soon break bud in some cases and that spells the end of the bare-root planting season but pot-grown plants can still be planted, of course. Check all young plants planted in recent months and re-firm them in the ground, if necessary. Bush roses and repeat-flowering climbers are leafing up now and should be pruned in the next two weeks, if not already done. Rose bushes can still be planted too, from pots. Apply some rose fertilizer to all bush and climbing roses.
French marigolds, petunias, dahlias and other summer bedding seeds can be sown in the coming couple of weeks. Flower seeds can be started off in the heat indoors and moved out to the cooler greenhouse. A small heated propagator is a great help in raising these plants successfully. Lifting and dividing of herbaceous flowers can continue if the soil is dry enough but should be completed soon because the advanced growth of many kinds. However, most are tolerant. Ornamental grasses move best at this time of year. Sow seeds of sweet peas and tie up on a light cane any plants raised last autumn.Spring bulbs can be moved 'in the green' as the flowers fade and it is a good time to separate bulbs of different colours, while the flowers are still present.
Mow the lawn during a dry spell and avoid walking on a wet lawn. Regular mowing can begin about now, mowing every 7 to 10 days.Re-make the edges of beds and borders by cutting with a lawn edging tool along the line of a garden line or a plank, and trim the grass where it meets kerbs and walls. If new areas of lawn are to be sown, the ground should be cultivated if possible. If there are weeds present, these could be sprayed off first. Apply sulphate of iron if there is heavy moss growth.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
Early varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce and onions can still be started in a tunnel or glasshouse and planted out into better growing conditions during April or May when they have had a head-start. As the ground continues to dry out, take any opportunity that comes to carry out early outdoor sowings, especially of onions from seed, leeks, parsnips and sprouts, which like an early start. Plant garlic and shallot sets without delay as it is getting late. Plant out new herb plants if the ground is in good condition. New fruit trees should be planted as soon as possible. Pruning of apple and pear trees and blackcurrant bushes should be completed within a couple of weeks, but this can be done even after bud break if it is delayed. Plant potatoes if the soil is in good condition.
Greenhouse and House Plants
It is a good time to sow tomato seeds for plants for greenhouse growing, also sweet peppers and chilli peppers. These are easy to grow and fill the greenhouse during the summer months. Sow these before mid-March as delayed sowing after this time will delay cropping, especially in a dull summer. Pot up begonias and cannas for summer display in the greenhouse or conservatory. Feed and water all greenhouse plants. Check for pests, especially greenflies, on the tips of new growth.Tap the flowers of a peach tree to release pollen or use a fine brush.