Laura's gardening column April 09

Wow, April already - the 'get out in the garden bug' is beginning to bite hard...

* tidy up some of those shrubs by pruning. Hard prune dogwood to roughly a foot from the ground. This will promote lots of new growth for winter interest. Taller varieties of Buddleia can also be reduced in size to promote new multi-stem growth.

* snowdrops can now be divided in the green (with leaves on) as they often don't re-establish well following planting as dry bulbs.

* apply mulch to your beds as this suppresses weeds and keeps the moisture in the soil.

* plant up hanging baskets and hang somewhere frost free ready to hang outside at the end of May.

* apply moss killer then scarify and aerate your lawn. This removes moss and improves drainage.

* frost protection is still needed at this time of the year to protect newly emerging shoots.

* you should now have your seed potatoes. Chit them (this produces heavier crops) and plant out by the end of this month. If you don't have a lot of space try car tyres stacked up (three or four) or compost bags turned inside out - go on you know you want to!

The above is by no means all there is to do in the garden, but hopefully it will give you a few starters.

Happy gardening!


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