April is the month when plants really get going and I would like to start by looking at climbers, in particular Clematis. Spring gives a number of varieties to consider. Clematis armandii with larger, white slightly scented flowers is an evergreen climber which will flower even in darker corners of the garden. It needs a sheltered spot with moist well drained soil to do best and bear in mind it will cover a large area. I love Clematis alpina with small hanging bells of flowers in blue, white and pink. Clematis macropetala is particularly beautiful with delicate double flowers and does not get as woody as the alpina varieties. Prune just after flowering by cutting back a little if they get too large.
Small perennials such as Allysum and Aubretia provide early season colour and another attractive flower are Auriculas. Similar in size to Primroses they have velvety flowers in a wide range of colours. Very good for moist well drained soil in sun and dislike wet soil.
If you have a woodland edge site with moist well drained soil try the stunning Dicentra spectabilis. It has arching stems with white or pink and white hanging flowers. It does die down later in the season but is lovely for a woodland garden. Plant alongside Epimedium a low growing perennial with glossy heart shaped leaves. In early spring they have new bronzy leaves and pale yellow or pink flowers depending on variety.
If you like foliage rather than flowers and have a sheltered spot consider the unusual Euphorbia mellifera. It will grow into a shrub about 1.5m tall and in spring has clusters of tiny flowers which have a honey scent.
Plant hardy annuals such as sunflowers, nasturtiums and marigolds out in the garden, where they are to flower. If the weather is mild later in April, sow seeds of lettuce, carrots and radishes outside.
Make sure roses are fed and look out for aphids on new growth. Spray with a solution of washing up liquid to keep them at bay.
If you would like to visit gardens for ideas, I suggest you look out for gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme where all proceeds go to charities including Marie Cure Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Parm Place at Great Budworth has many different areas and in spring, a wealth of spring flowering bulbs, camellias and early flowering plants. It is open on 3rd April.