April is a wonderful month for gardening. There’s the lush springing of new shoots emerging in the borders, the freshness of dancing daffodils in their yellow abundance with their quiet fragrance, the emerald leaf of grass and tree beginning to open. In the woods, the softer hues of primrose and the dainty white flowers of wild strawberry and wood sorrel are vivid against the brilliant green of grass and lime spurge. Towards the end of the month, if you’re taking a walk in the woods, then be prepared for bluebells with their waves of purple flowers and delicious gentle fragrance. Or you could be overcome by the much more pungent smell of wild garlic, their white flowers frothing at the path verges.
However, it’s also a time for those more invasive weeds to gather force and spread vigorously in lawn and beds. You can always ‘weed and feed’ your lawn which is something worth doing if your grass is invaded by creeping buttercup, dandelion and thistle. I confess a love of some lawn additions, however, particularly the common daisy and clover, both of which bees and butterflies adore. We often leave a swathe of grass uncut for a few weeks in the summer in our garden, allowing a long ‘s’ shape of clover to bloom. The delight in watching the butterflies descend is worth the extra mowing labour later on, I promise you!
As a busy working Mum, like so many others, there’s little time to weed the borders. What’s more, our garden was planted up about twenty years ago and now we’re reaping the maturity – plus the thugs! There does come a time to renovate, remove, cut back and weed out the mightier plants, allowing the gentler ones more space – if, that is, they’ve survived their vigorous neighbours.
Dividing is a great way of creating more space in your garden and April is a really good month to do this. Firstly, dig out the perennial you want to divide, place two long garden forks back to back in the centre of the clump and push each fork forward. This action should separate the clump, but if it’s simply too big, then you may need to start at one end of the plant and work your way through it. Sometimes it’s possible to extract the roots of weeds as you divide, but often (in my case) the plant is just too infected by weeds and needs to be thrown away. It’s also worth considering dividing if your plants lose most of their flowering ability. Some, like hemerocallis just get too congested, while others, such as Iris sibirica, form a hollow middle. Still others, like Iris germanica, simply stop
Your plant will love the newly composted space to flourish and bloom in, and, of course, you’ll have many extra plants to give away to friends and neighbours! What could be better?