When purchasing bedding annuals this spring, choose properly grown plants with good colour. Buy plants
with well-developed root systems that are vigorous, but not too large for their pots, and lots if unopened
buds. Plants that bloom in the pack are often bound by root and can be set back for several weeks after being transplanted. Plants not yet in bloom will actually bloom sooner, be better established and grow
Plan to attract hummingbirds to your garden this year by planting red or orange flowers. Monarda
(beebalm) is a good perennial to provide nectar for these small birds.
For hot-weather colour, select one of the following: Gloriosa Daisy, Madagascar Periwinkle, Ornamental
Peppers, Mexican Zinnia or Amaranthus ‘Joseph’s Coat.’ Plant only after all danger of frost is past and
plan for colour until winter arrives.
Make a plot layout of your flower borders. This is an essential but often neglected task. With an accurate
plot plan, you will know where to locate the spring flowering bulbs you plant next fall. Also, it will make
your spring and summer gardening easier. You will be able to correctly identify the plants in your border
and plan for continuous blooming by setting young annuals between bulbs and early flowering perennials
after their blooms have faded.
Begin to plant seedlings of warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. You can
also start your pumpkin seeds now
Sow beets, beans, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, sweet corn and radishes
Plant herbs such as thyme, sage, parsley, chives and basil
Sod or sow new lawns, and overseed damaged older lawns
Start planting out warm season annuals such as impatiens, marigolds, petunias, sunflowers, zinnia,
Finish planting summer-flowering bulbs like tuberose, gladiolus, dahlias, and callas
Plant chervil, coriander, dill, rosemary, and summer savory outside after the last spring frost date for your
area. Your Extension agent should be able to give you the date.
Now is a good time to start a cactus garden. Cacti may be started from seeds or from cuttings.
The cool weather of April is perfect for pansies. Brighten up your front door with pots of transplanted
pansies or place them in outdoor beds as soon as the soil can be worked. Purchase large plants that will
give a good show before hot weather arrives.
Plant dahlia tubers as soon as the danger of frost is passed. Stake at the time of planting to avoid injury
Plant clematis in locations that receive at least six hours of sunshine a day. Use an organic mulch or
ground cover to shade roots and keep them cool. Plant in rich, well-drained loam.
Hydrangea is one gift plant that transplants well into the garden after its flowers fade. When the weather
warms, plant in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Don’t be surprised if the next year’s flowers
are a different colour than the first year. Blue or pink hydrangea colour is dependent on the pH of the soil.
Alkaline soil produces pink flowers; acidic soil produces blue flowers. White hydrangeas are not affected
by soil pH.
Many gardeners plant annual and perennial flowers to attract hummingbirds. Woody plants can also be
added to the yard to provide nectar for our smallest native birds. Some common trees visited by
hummingbirds are a buckeye, horse chestnut, catalpa, apple, crabapple, hawthorn, silk tree, redbud and
tulip poplar. Shrubs include azalea, beauty bush, coralberry, honeysuckle, lilac, New Jersey tea, Siberian
pea shrub and red weigela.
Frost tender plants such as citrus, fuchsia, geranium, hibiscus, mandevilla, and bougainvillea can go
outdoors when all chance of frost is gone
Start feeding potted plants every two to three weeks with half-strength liquid fertilizer
If plants like citrus, camellias, gardenias, and grapes are chlorotic (have yellowing between green leaf
veins), spray leaves with a foliar fertilizer containing chelated iron
Mulch soil to save water, smother weeds, keep the soil cooler. Spread 1-3 inches (2.5-7cm) of bark chips,
compost, wood shavings, or other organic material under shrubs trees, annuals and vegetables.
Thin vegetables that were sown too thickly, like basil, carrots, green onions, or lettuce
Prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees after bloom is over
Fertilize everything right now, but do not feed spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas, camellias, and
rhododendrons until after they have finished flowering. Use an acid based fertilizer. They also should be
pruned after blooming
Now is also the time to divide mint, chive, tarragon, and creeping thyme.
Control lawn weeds now through late May before they get large.
The lawn mower blade should always be sharp so as not to tear the grass. If you sharpen the blade at
home, be sure to balance it, too. Place the centre hole of the blade on a screwdriver handle held upright
in the vise. Check to see if it balances. If not, sharpen the heavier side some more until the blade
balances on the handle.
To determine if soil is ready to work, squeeze a handful into a tight ball, then, break the ball apart with
your fingers. If the ball of soil readily crumbles in your fingers, the soil is ready to be worked. If the soil
stays balled, however, it is still too wet to work. Use this test in another week to determine if the soil is
ready to be worked.
Lift, divide, and replant chrysanthemums as soon as new shoots appear. Each rooted shoot or clump will
develop into a fine plant for late summer bloom. Pinch out the top when the plants are about 4 inches (10
cm) high to thicken the plant.
Don’t throw out the little gladiolus cormlets you dug out with the larger corms last fall. Plant them in a row
in the garden this spring, and in two years, they will reach blooming size.
When iris leaves appear thin and limp, check for borers. These grub-like insects can ruin an entire
planting if not detected and eradicated early.
April is a good time to clean up plants and flower beds. Pick out dead leaves and twigs and prune dead
Label the clumps of daffodils that are too crowded, as overcrowding inhibits blooming. Dig up and
separate in July.
Cut flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths and other spring flowering bulbs as the
flowers fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The leaves are necessary to produce strong
bulbs capable of reflowering.
Buy a hose-end shut-off valve; these are available separately or as part of a watering wand. This allows
you to turn off the hose as you move around the yard. Also, when you are through watering, you can shut
off the water immediately, rather than let the hose run while you hurry to turn off the main spigot.
Once new growth begins on trees and shrubs, cut back to green wood any twigs affected by winterkill.
Weed and Pest Control
Keep and eye out for aphids and get them before they take over your plants Use either a strong stream of
water or use safer soap products.
All those jobs can by done by Sunny Gardens, just contact us for details of garden maintenance, landscaping and design.