April brings such a choice of beautiful fresh flowers and foliage that it is hard to choose which ones to suggest.
Starting with a choice shrub, Viburnum plicatum, with white or pale rose flowers that look like a lacecap Hydrangea flower. They have flat lacecap saucer sized blooms and the leaves turn red in autumn. There are many varieties such as Summer Snowflake, Lanarth or Mariesii. All can become large up to 3m tall and wide if left un-pruned. They can tolerate most soils except dry soils and grow in sun or light shade.
April and early May brings out the main Cherry blossom season. Some become huge and spreading trees but there are smaller varieties. Plant well away from houses as roots can cause damage. Prunus Umineko will get to about 7m in time and has small single white flowers. Prunus Kursar grows to a similar size in height but has pink flowers and also coppery coloured young leaves that turn orangey red in autumn.
Many perennials start flowering this month. Pulsatilla vulgaris Grandis or Pasque flower is associated with Easter. They have silky fan foliage and flower buds which are very soft to the touch. Flowers are mauve, red or white. They need a sunny place and well drained soil so are great for rockery or a border next to a path.
Another small perennial for damp conditions is Primula denticulata or Drumstick Primula, with round heads of mauve, purple, lavender or white flowers on tall stems. The photo shows a plant next to a stream and they are fine by pond sides or damp areas of your garden.
One of my favourite plants for shady spots are the Pulmonaria or Lungworts. These can be superb for weed suppressing under larger shrubs growing up to 75cms across in good moisture retentive soil. In spring they have white, pink or blue flowers then the foliage takes over with spotted white or silvery leaves.
Once the Forsythia and Ribes (Ornamental Currant) have finished flowering, prune back to keep them in shape. They will produce new stems that will flower next year. Start sowing seeds of vegetables outside, such as Lettuce, Peas, Radishes, Spinach and Carrots. Plant out your “chitted” potatoes, deeply in soil with lots of compost added in the planting trench. Feed any plants with a general pelleted fertilizer such as Growmore.
If you would like to visit gardens, 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. Open on 21st April is All Fours Farm at Aston by Budworth, Northwich. A country garden with a range of borders, pond and a formal knot garden. It is next door to the family rose nursery so you can look for a new rose for your garden.