tofino april gardening tips - good spring to you!

April Gardening Tips - Good Spring to you!

by Trina Mattson, Tofino

I I feel like I’ve been semi dormant all winter, even as I always make sure to peruse the garden catalogs and availability lists for new, exciting and different plants etc. I always come up with the same conclusions, WOW is there a lot of stuff out there, and where am I ever going to find the time and space to try it all out. Wasn't it the rabbit that said, so much to do so little time? So starting as early as possible, I want to get the easy stuff over with so the real back breaking labour intensive work can be done, and although sitting in a hammock with a good book and a glass of whatever makes you happy, is rough, but as always I strive to complete my missions in the garden. The easy stuff comes first; remove decaying matter in the garden composting if possible should be done as early in the season as allowable to give your ground some breathing space. Lawns should be limed by now, although for this area it is still not too late.

Try to spread it when you are fairly sure that you will have at least 2 days of decent weather. And if you managed to get your lawn limed, then a good dose of fertiliser will help to make it grow, maybe even use something with a moss killer in it for a little extra kick. Also other plants like a good shot of lime to sweeten the soil, some of which are

Lilacs, wisteria, clematis and other ornamental trees and shrubs, although steer clear of acid loving plants such as rhodos, azaleas, camellias, etc. If you use a good vine food made especially for clematis etc., you can skip the shot of lime to them, as it is a complete fertiliser, and does work very well. This is the time to fertilise and prune your clematis from group A. Now I’ve have found that group A, B, C. thing confusing for the longest time, so hopefully here is the break down, First thing I did was watched my clematis and tagged which ones bloomed when, a simple note on the tag with the start and finish blooming month worked best. Group A, is at the height of bloom in April, and finished by May so don’t prune later than June and don‚t prune severely, just weak or dead stems. Montana varieties fall into this category.

Group B is a little more complicated, it consists of 2 sub groups, Group

B1 heavy blooms May / June on previous seasons growth, and in September, on current seasons growth, and can be pruned like Group C. Group B2 bloom from June to September on current seasons growth. But either way Group B can take a light pruning about Feb/March taking out any weak or dead wood. And if you have neglected your Group B you can cut it back severely, and although you will reduce the number of blooms, the over all rejuvenation of the plant will be much better. Group C also blooms early in the summer through to fall on current years growth, and should be pruned back to 2 sets of strong buds on each stem as close as possible to the ground. So did this help to prune out the pruning confusion? If not, and you happen to throw this out (for shame), and you know the variety, just take that into your local garden centre and we’ll look it up.

Rhodos, Azaleas and camellias are also ready for feeding at this time, and you can pretty much count on feeding them every second month till about August, then you don‚t want them to put on too much more new growth as it will not necessarily harden off in time for winter. Just about everything could use a good shot of fertiliser in April, including bulbs that are blooming or finished blooming, and newly planted perennials. And this is the time to start planting perennials so that they have a good foothold by the time their bloom season arrives and the summer heat is here. Spring blooming heathers are now out in full glory, and winter blooming heathers are just finishing and could use a trim to keep the growth thick and flowers profuse for next year. Primroses and early spring blooming pansies are all in bloom right now and make beautiful bright spots in the garden or by the front step, you may even want to go so far as to plant up a spring moss basket of pansies and violas. For the pond owner, the fish are starting to feed about every 3-4 days now and sign of life at this point, and because the water is warming up, and the fish are more active, it is time to start watching for string algae, barley hay really does work as a deterrent, I use it last year on one of my ponds as an experiment, no string algae until this Spring. Seeds are in at this time, and it is time to start thinking about those popular purchases to make sure you don‚t get shorted. Lettuces, and radishes etc can also be seeded at this time, or if you are in a greenhouse environment you may have already started other veggies. Alright I’ve rattled on long enough, and It's time to put my foot on the shovel and dig, although right now I’m trying to get the newest addition to the garden centre ready, so I’m playing in the mud alright Drywall mud, not quite the same, but squishy none the less.

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Tofino garden tips for April 2004. Written by Tina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino for Tofino Time Magazine.
tofino time april 2004

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