Monty Don reveals the eight gardening jobs you must do now in April to get your garden summer ready

Monty Don has revealed the eight jobs gardeners should be doing in April to get their garden summer ready.

Despite the rainy start to the month, the Gardeners’ World presenter, 68, reassured green-fingered fans that the disappointing climate shouldn’t put an end to preparations.

Instead, gardeners should now be prioritising feeding birds, planting lilies in pots and lifting spring bulbs to save for next year. 

He also suggested that lawns should be left long, and gradually reduced in length as the weather improves.

Here, FEMAIL shares the eight jobs Monty has detailed for April…  

Gardener's World presenter Monty Don has given gardeners a list of jobs to make sure they do this month

Gardener’s World presenter Monty Don has given gardeners a list of jobs to make sure they do this month

Restrict mowing

Writing in his blog, Monty insisted that, perhaps despite your strongest inclinations, a long lawn provides the best environment for a diversity of wildlife and healthier grass.

He did concede that you might want to shorten down a patch for children to play on or for people to lounge on, but recommended keeping that space to a minimum.

Then you can gradually reduce the length of the lawn as the weather improves.

Feed birds

Even though the change in light could convince you that small birds no longer need your help, Monty said that this is the time of year that many birds will be nesting and laying eggs.

That hard work requires feeding up, so he advised continuing putting out feed – with cheese or breadcrumbs good alternatives to traditional bird food.

One of his biggest warnings was to fight the urge to mow - recommending that people leave most of their lawn relatively untouched this month (stock photo)

One of his biggest warnings was to fight the urge to mow – recommending that people leave most of their lawn relatively untouched this month (stock photo)

Pot lilies

For gardeners who like fragrant areas, or want to achieve beautiful flower displays, Monty recommended planting lilies in pots now.

But for best results, it’s not as simple as chucking a couple of bulbs into a pot of soil.

The gardening expert explained most lily varieties like ericaceous – more acidic – soil, and for best results you need good drainage and a loose compost. 

Plant the bulbs under four inches of compost and leave them somewhere lightly shaded, being sure to water them well before moving them somewhere sunnier in summer.

Mist houseplants

Monty said that for houseplants, the ‘single most useful thing’ to have is a mist sprayer.

This gives you good control over how much you water your houseplants, with overwatering ‘the biggest mistake’ we tend to make with them.

Using a mist spray – twice a day – you can moisten the plants until their foliage is running with water, making sure that the resulting humid air is not going to damage any nearby furniture – so bathrooms and kitchens are the best environment.

Gardeners should now be prioritising feeding birds, planting lilies in pots and lifting spring bulbs to save for next year (stock photo)

Gardeners should now be prioritising feeding birds, planting lilies in pots and lifting spring bulbs to save for next year (stock photo)

Lift spring bulbs

While Monty advised against cutting back the foliage of bulbs which have finished flowering, you can lift them – along with any roots or foliage – out to save for next year.

This gets you an extra spot for something new, and will give the bulbs you remove a better chance of flowering well next year.

Keep any you do rescue in a container somewhere sunny until the foliage dies down and you can move the bulb to a dry pot to replant in autumn. 

Deadhead Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Apparently a ‘simple’ yet ‘often overlooked’ job is deadheading (removing old spent flowers on) Azaleas and Rhododendrons. 

Doing this will extend their seasons by preventing them from expending energy producing seeds.

However, the gardening host clarified that this should be done by hand rather than using pruning shears to avoid injuring new buds. 

Plant sweet peas

One for a couple of weeks time is planting out sweet peas.

Monty said that these do best in rich, damp soil in a cool area.

He did warn against planting too many seeds at the base of each support though, limiting it to a few per pole to encourage strong growth. 

Sow salads in containers

There are plenty of salad leaves which can be planted at this time of year, such as spinach, rocket and lettuce.

Lettuce should be planted outside into soil around now as the soil is not too warm.

In all cases, salad leaves which you regrow are best planted in containers, according to Monty.

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