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What to do in the garden this week

PUBLISHED: 09:27 24 April 2016

Lily-of-the-valley

Lily-of-the-valley

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Lily-of-the-valley and catch crops like spinach and radishes will thrive in April, plus now is a good time to give summer-flowering bulbs and roses some attention.

Lettuces. PA Photo/thinkstockphotosLettuces. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria)

These deliciously scented perennials will make a low-growing carpet of fresh green foliage in moist shade, bearing white flowers in April and May which are sometimes followed by small berries. The plants prefer humus-rich, moist soil to thrive and tolerate shade, especially under deciduous trees. They make good partners for shade-loving hostas or arums. But beware because they can become invasive and you may need to lift and divide the rhizomes to keep the flowers coming year on year. C. majalis is the native species, with named varieties including ‘Fortin’s Giant’ and ‘Rosea’, which has mauve-pink flowers.

Catch crops

Don’t leave space in your vegetable patch or on the allotment waiting for slow-growing edibles to progress. Instead, fill in the gaps with fast-growing catch crops such as lettuce, spinach which can be picked young and beetroot. Use quick crops of radishes and spring onions between slow-growing parsnips, or a quick crop of peas before it’s time to put your runner beans out in June. Radishes and lettuce can also be grown between brassicas such as Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli, which take a long time to fill their space.

What to do in the garden this week

:: Protect young vegetable plants with netting if you have a problem with birds.

:: Start to harden off bedding plants in a garden frame.

:: Transplant evergreens that need moving.

:: Sow Brussels sprouts, parsnips, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips outdoors.

:: Sow half-hardy and tender annuals in the greenhouse for summer bedding.

:: Start to mow the lawn weekly or more often if necessary.

:: Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as acidanthera and tigridia.

:: Weed patios, paths and drives.

:: Apply rose fertiliser, gently hoeing it in around the plants.

:: Ventilate cold frames and the greenhouse whenever possible to encourage sturdy plant growth.

:: Feed newly planted hedges.


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