Garden Month on April, 2018: What things should I be doing in the garden this month?
April, 2018 is Garden Month 2018. National Gardening Association :: National Gardening Association April is National Garden Month
April is really a month for gardening – Garden Month encourages for planting, growing, and investing time developing a beautiful, healthy and productive atmosphere. Gardening and growing plants will work for you, encouraging relaxation, cooperation, and a feeling of achievement.
You may consider putting a 'green' cover crop on the garden for now and turn it in in the spring. This will help your soil and feed future plants. If you cannot wait, this is the time to plant bulbs for spring and summer color. Here is an article on things to do in the October Garden:
My gardening tips are to create an easy to maintain garden with seasonal interest, rather than just a summer splash.
The plants that I use are:
Phormiums - come in range of leaf colours, variegated, green, reds to purple. Grows from 2' to 5' with large flower spikes, when established and in a good sunny spot. Spear shaped leaves.
Buddleia - the butterfly bush - showy flowers, attracted butterflies, from around June. Only need pruning hard, around Feb, then just let them riot. There's also a variegated form, with purple flowers, otherwise flower colours from white, pinks to purple.
Lavenders:there are alot of different types:
Hidcote is around 18'' tall, lovely dark blue flowers.
Old English: 'lavender' blue flowers, around 2-3' tall.
French: these have coloured 'wings' ontop of their flowers.
All are best with a fairly harsh spring pruning, stops them getting leggy.
Heuchera's: good for semi shaded areas, fantastic choice of leaf colours and textures, plus flowers too.
Sedum Spectabile is 1 of the easiest plants to grow: roots easily too, if he takes cuttings next year onwards. Attracts butterflies.
I'd add some grasses, for leaf texture variation. Festuca Glauca is a short very blue grass. Otherwise, there are tons of colours from red, to variegated green/white or golden.
A Peony will flourish in the same spot for 50years +, so is really easy and showy. Some come with scented flowers.
Daylilies are lovely summer flowering herbaceous plants, yellow, reds etc. (Hemerocalis is the botanical name)
Phlox paniculata are herbaceous summer flowering plants, whites to pink. Very easy.
Foxgloves are easy, but the typically grown types grow from seed one year, flower and die the next. Good in partial shade, especially for back of borders, as they can reach 6' tall. Maybe you could start some from seed yourself, and post or take them to him?
Roses could be ok, either climbers or freestanding. Require an annual prune. Good long season colour.
Hardy Geraniums are easy showy plants, with long flowering periods - don't confuse with the summer bedding geraniums, which aren't hardy and thus not perennial in UK gardens.
I love Oriental Poppies, Papaver Orientalis - mine are just about to flower now. From white to pink, red, orange. Many with contrasting colours in the centre of the flower. Herbaceous.
Gaillardia have a broad colour range, for long summer periods of flowers.
Add some Hellebores for late winter, early spring colour:
Heeleborus Niger (Christmas 'Rose'), white flowers or Helleborus Orientalis - late spring, whtie,pinks, reds. Herbaceous, but usually carry leaves through the year.
Lupins are also showy flowering herbaceous plants, in a wide colour range. Easy.
I'd add some bulbs, for flowering next spring:usually purchased/planted from around August. Daffodills/Narcissus, Bluebells, Scilla Siberica, Crocus, large flowered and species types, for easly spring flowers.
Tulips are lovely, but can be prone to rot, as you're not sure of his soil type, might want to avoid. Best planted late autumn, even upto December.
Ref. ordering: I'd shop around, as you'll find variations in pricing. It's also a really good idea to select the plants yourself, as you can pick the healthiest - I know he's some way from you, but perhaps you could find some garden centres that are on your way, or local to him.
Hope these ideas help. I've chosen from what I grow and know are reasonably easy but showy plants.
Good luck! Rob
gardening in the philippines?
Good luck in your gardening there. For years now I have been sending the best quality seeds I can buy to an Aunt of my wife who is also a keen gardener. Nothing from here in the way of either vegetable or flower or plant seeds has grown. She lavishes care on them and uses all the right materials(because I send it to her in Balikbayan boxes) etc but they just dont grow. You will laugh out loud when you see Philippines vegies. A cauliflower no bigger than the palm of your hand, carrots only the size of your little finger and tomatoes the size of a childs marbles.Corn does grow well there.Flowers seem to only grow if from the local varieties and none of the flower seeds I have sent have come up. Remember, just about everything in the PI is of very low grade. You will have to make your own compost for example. Fertiliser is available but mainly used for rice land and not domestic growing. I have yet to find what you and I would call a garden centre selling only plants, seedlings, pots, watering systems, fertilisers and garden tools etc that in any way compares to our garden centres here.You want anything specialised or of high quality you will need to have it sent to you.The Aunt and I have travelled everywhere in Cebu. I was told we were going to the big garden centre. Turned up to a shack with some sacks of fertiliser and that was it. I have not even managed to find where to buy a decent garden watering hose which does not matter--no garden taps and no water pressure for a hose anyway so that will show you how primitive it all is.I even once dallied with hydroponics there but gave it up. The necessary equipment available there for hydroponics is very limited, low quality and really, really expensive.Also , dont forget , even on Bohol which is lush and green in most parts, the only things growing is rice, casava, coocnut and flax.The soil is good for those crops but not much else.I could not find one outlet either in Cebu, or on Bohol I looked around Tagbilaran and Ubay but not one bag of potting mix to be had !!!!!!