Wisborough Green Horticultural Society

The Gardener's Calendar by Ian Clemens

April 2017

 Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as Lilies and Gladiolus into beds, borders and containers.

 Divide Hostas before they come into leaf. Pot them up and bring them along to the May plant sale.

 Divide primroses after they have flowered.

 Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers finish but leave the foliage intact allowing it to die back naturally.

 Plant your chitted potatoes outside in the ground or in potato grow bags, but remember to keep well covered if there is a chance of frost.

 Protect your fruit blossom from late frosts by covering them with fleece on cold nights.

 Plant out strawberry beds, making sure you enrich the soil first with plenty of well-rotted manure. Place cloches over your strawberry plants for earlier crops.

 Protect your fruit blossom from late frosts by covering them with fleece on cold nights.

 Keep an eye on your seedlings - as soon as they have their first true leaves, prick them out into pots or modules for growing on.

 If you haven't already, give your greenhouse a thorough scrub with hot soapy water to get rid of pests and diseases and to let more light in. I actually spray mine with household bleach solution which seems to kill off everything.




 Any dormant fuchsias that you’ve over-wintered in the greenhouse can be put on the staging so that they are in full light and given a misting of water to encourage them to start wakening up.

 This is your last chance to winter prune that wisteria. Really!

 Check stored dahlia tubers, discarding any that have rotted. Move the tubers into a light, warm place and they’ll soon come into growth.

 Start planning this year’s bedding display. Time to plant antirrhinums, marigolds, begonias, cosmos, lobelia petunias and pansies from seed.

 Hopefully you’ve been saving egg boxes to use for chitting your seed potatoes. If not then a seed tray or similar will do. Chit them now for planting from mid-March onwards.

 Sow windowsill crops of salad leaves and herbs.

 Start planting broad beans, brassicas, carrots, parsnips and onions.

 Indoors sowing of tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies and peppers.

 Plant new fruit trees and continue to prune those that are already established.



         Remove old Hellebore leaves to make the new blooms more visible as they emerge this spring.
Remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed and prolong flowering.
Cut back the old foliage from ornamental grasses before growth begins - clip them to within a few centimetres of the ground.
Plant bare root roses now in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour.
Harvest parsnips and leeks.
Start chitting (sprouting) early potatoes - stand them on end in a module tray or egg box and place in a bright cool frost-free place.
Remove yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas as they are no use to the plant and may harbour pests and diseases.
Prune blackcurrant bushes, gooseberries and redcurrants to maintain a productive framework.
Try forcing rhubarb plants by placing an upturned bucket or bin over the crown. This will force tender pink stems to grow that will be ready in
            about 8 weeks.

Plant Amaryllis bulbs in pots now for stunning indoor flowers in early spring.


         Start to prune your Wisteria, climbing roses, vines and fruit trees.
Leave the faded flower heads on your hydrangeas until the spring, as they will provide frost protection to the swelling buds further down the stems.
Move containers of shrubs or bedding plants to a sheltered spot; clustering them together helps protect the root systems from suffering frost damage.
Take hardwood cuttings from suitable trees and shrubs.
Lift and divide established clumps of rhubarb to renew the plant's vigour.
Remove yellowing leaves from your winter brassicas as they are no use to the plant and may harbour pests and diseases. Cover with netting to
      protect them from pigeons.

Dig over empty borders and pile manure on top - let the worms and frosts break up the clods of soil.
Apply glue bands or grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths climbing the trunks and laying their eggs in the

Plant raspberry canes now whilst they are dormant.
Plant blueberries for an attractive addition to the fruit garden.


         There's still time to plant daffodil bulbs and other spring flowering bulbs.

         Plant out spring bedding displays of pansies, violas and primulas.

         Start to plant bare-root roses - they can be planted any time between now and March.

         Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonias and gladiolus corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove the dead foliage before storing.

         Cut back the yellowing foliage of herbaceous perennials, and lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain their vigour.

         Lift parsnips after the first frosts when their flavour will have sweetened.

         Divide mature clumps of rhubarb once they are dormant.

         If you have access to fresh manure, now is the time to spread it across the surface of your vegetable beds to rot down over winter.

         Build a raised bed to take the bending out of vegetable growing.

         Stake top-heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stem to prevent wind rocking the plant and causing damage to the roots.

         Now is the ideal time to plant currant bushes whilst they are dormant.

         Plant raspberry canes now for a delicious home grown crop.

         Check fruits in storage and promptly remove any showing signs of disease or rotting.

         Tidy up your strawberry plants - cut off any dead leaves and remove runners.

         Prune pear and apple trees anytime between now and February. But don't be tempted to prune your plum trees now as they will be susceptible to the silver leaf fungus - wait until midsummer.

         Apply glue bands or grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths climbing the trunks and laying their eggs in the branches.


        As colder weather is approaching, protect half-hardy plants with fleece or bring into a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.

        Once the first frosts have blackened Dahlia foliage, lift tubers and store in a dry frost free environment over the winter months.

        Lift Begonia tubers and Gladioli corms and remove the dead foliage before storing them.

        Plant daffodiltulip and Allium bulbs for a glorious spring display.

        Time to plant spring bedding such as wallflowers, Bellis, Primulas and winter pansies .

        Harvest squashes and pumpkins before the first frosts.

        Finish harvesting beans and peas. When beans and peas finish cropping simply cut the plant away at ground level, leaving the roots in the soil.
 These crops fix nitrogen which is slowly released into the soil as the roots break down

        Continue planting autumn garlic and onions for a bumper earlier crop next summer.

        Any plants with green tomatoes or peppers remaining can be hung upside down indoors to ripen.

        Remove the netting from fruit cages to allow birds to catch and eat any pests that are lurking there.





• Plant out annual summer bedding plants in borders, containers and hanging baskets now the risk of frost has passed.

• Lift and divide clumps of snowdrops and bluebells once the leaves start to yellow.

• Pinch out the tips of your fuchsias to encourage a bushy habit and more flowers.

• Cut back bulb foliage once it has died down naturally.

• Plant out tender vegetables like courgette, squash, tomatoes and sweetcorn now the chance of frost has past.

• Look out for yellowing of autumn planted onion and garlic foliage. This is a sign that they are ready to harvest.

• Continue to earth up main crop potatoes and think about harvesting your first earlies (ready 10 weeks after planting)

• Harvest salad crops and sow new every two weeks to ensure a constant supply of tasty leaves.

• Thin out congested branches on fruit trees for bigger and better fruits.

• Protect developing fruits from birds and squirrels by netting your plants.

• Peg down runners on strawberry plants to create more plants for next year.


• Continue earthing-up potatoes and harden off outdoor tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins for planting early next month.

• Thin out direct-sown vegetables such as spinach, carrot and lettuce seedlings then water the rows well.

• Plant out brassicas and leeks to their final positions.

• Weed around your onions and garlic to reduce competition for nutrients and water. Applying an onion fertiliser will boost growth.
• Hang pheromone traps in plum and apple trees.

• Surround strawberries with straw to protect fruit and net them to keep birds off.

• Erect netting around your soft fruit plants to prevent birds eating your crop.

• Remove blossom and fruits from newly planted fruit trees to allow them to establish properly during their first year.

• Take cuttings of tender perennials such as Fuchsia, Argyranthemum and Pelargoniums (geraniums).

• Harden off half-hardy plants by leaving them outside during the day and bringing back under cover at night for 7 to 10 days before planting outdoors.

• Don't be tempted to cut down or tie up the foliage of spring-flowering bulbs, let them die down naturally.