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It is April already and boy can it be seen this year.  The ground is positively moving, with new growth pushing through the earth in search of daylight. Consequently for the gardener there is much to do.  The opening shot shows the fresh new shoots of the Tradescantia, Spiderwort infested with rampant ground Elder.  Ground elder is one of the most difficult weeds to irradicate from a flower bed as it weaves itself through the roots of other plants and sends up its leaves right through the plant.  Last year I dug up miles of the stuff from this area and I have to say that it is very disheartening to see that it has managed to take over again.  The shame of it is that it will completely ruin the display of the delicate pale blue blooms of the Tradescantia.  None the less I again have dug over the area and pulled out as much of the root system that I could manage.   

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Wildlife is on the move and these are what I came across on Monday.

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The field mouse seemed rather chilled.

I am in the midst of mulching the garden where I work.  This is a mammoth task, heavy but essential work.  The garden is thin soil over chalk and it really benefits from a deep mulch of the home generated leaf mould..  The garden generates mountains of the stuff.Image

So I will weed an area, apply a sprinkle of general fertiliser and then top dress with the well rotted two year old leaf mould.  It improves the texture of the soil, keeps down some of the weeds and helps to hold some moisture in the ground.

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I think it also makes the garden look cared for and somehow shows off the new growth to full effect.

One or two people have remarked upon the rather severe treatment I gave the Buddleia.  To reassure you that all is well, I thought I should share this shot with you. Look at all the new leaves emerging.

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Looking good in the garden now are Elephant ears or Bergenia Image

 

Small Violas are also looking at their best nowImage

If you have time to tackle any other tasks,  these are some suggestions for you.

Any Roses should have been pruned and fed by now and as the new foliage opens. you will need to keep a watchful eye out for aphids.  These appear seemingly from nowhere and smother the plant in no time.  Keep on top of them and the blighters will be easier to manage.  If you have to spray, do it regularly for best results.  If you are caring for the other critters such as Ladybirds, you could try spraying the aphids with soapy water but, to be most effective, this will have to be done often and from the earliest sightings.  If the rose is already smothered you could squish the aphids with you bare hands, well fingers actually and then spray with the soapy liquid.  I prefer to use the squish and spray soap method but know that it is not always effective enough.  If you are planning to bring the blooms in for display you may not wish to have aphids in the house, so make your choice folks.  

Summer flowering bulbs such as Canna, Dahlia and Gladioli can be planted up in containers or the ground.  If like me you do not lift your Dahlias, you can begin to check how they have fared under the ground by gently removing the top layers of mulch to see if there are signs of life.  I will not be doing this until much later in the month as I do not want to get caught out by a short sharp late frost.  

Sweet peas can be sown direct although you should expect them to flower later than those seedlings grown under glass available from the garden centre.  It may be a good idea to have a mix of home grown and shop bought for a range of available flowers for picking and sniffing.

Once the flowers have faded on the early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia and Chaenomeles, Japanese quince, you should prune them back into shape.

Garden life is busy and so full of hope and anticipation this time of year.  Whatever you are doing I hope you will get a chance to get out into your garden even if it is just for a short minute to observe it all happening.