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April, well known for sunshine and showers, is the perfect month for gardeners when they start to see the results of all their hard work. Many beautiful trees and shrubs will be in full flower this month as well as bulbs in beds and borders.

The first job will probably be tackling weeds in borders and the vegetable patch, you must keep on top of them, or your plants will soon be crowded out.

The lawn will be the next to need attention so start weekly trims and tidy up the edges with a half-moon edger. You could also feed your lawn now as long as the weather is frost free. April is a good time to turf or sow seed for a new lawn.

Later in the month start hardening off summer bedding, hanging baskets and containers by bringing them out during the day and taking them in at night.

There are many seeds which can be sown now the weather is warmer to give you colour and tasty vegetables later in the year. Summer bulbs and tubers could be planted out as well as seeds of hardy annuals which will flower in-situ.

As climbers really get started into growth, they will need to be tied into their supports to get the best display from them.

Hedges will now need to be trimmed as well as fed, a mulch around their base would be beneficial as well.

A general feed all around the garden will help your plants, if you use a slow-release fertiliser such as Osmacote Slow Release or Miracle-Gro Slow Release this will last all season.

Warmer weather and April showers unfortunately means slugs and snails and other pests are on the march so man your defences now and also spray against diseases especially on roses.

Dead head spring bulbs but do not cut down the foliage of tie it up, it should be left to die back naturally, although admittedly this looks untidy. The bulbs need the nutriment from the leaves, this is especially important if you are leaving them in to naturalise.

What to grow from seed during April

Flower seeds to start off indoors: Ageratums, Marigolds, Nastursiums, Petunias, Salvias, Scabiosa and Zinnias

To sow directly into the soil: Calendulas, Sunflowers, Wildflower mix

Vegetables which still need protection: Courgettes, Cucumbers, Marrows, Melons, Squashes/pumpkins, French/Runner beans, Sweetcorn and Tomatoes

Vegetables to sow outdoors: Beetroots, Broad beans, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Calabrase, Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Salsify and Scorzonera

Wildlife Gardening for April

Continue to put out food for birds but avoid chunky foods that could choke young fledglings.

Make sure the bird bath is well topped up with fresh water.

As well as bird nesting boxes why not try bat boxes and bee/pollinating insect homes.

Plant out plants to attract bees/pollinating insects.

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The Garden CentreTo Visit in Essex

We have parking spaces for up to 450 cars and easy access both onto and off of the A127, which is the main dual-carriage way into Southend-on-Sea. The A127 is off Junction 29 of the M25 which is a 10 minute drive to our door. Plan your visit to Summerhill today. We can’t wait to see you.

Summerhill Garden Centre, Pipps Hill Road North, A127 Arterial Road, Billericay, Essex CM11 2UJ