April is a busy month in the garden. Cooler, mild weather makes for perfect planting conditions and enjoyable gardening. It’s time to revive and renew the garden after the ravages of summer. There’s a wonderful new growth cycle underway, so make the most of autumn, nature’s natural planting time!
April is the perfect time to plant: Advanced trees, alyssum, azaleas, begonias, boston ivy, bottlebrush, bougainvilleas, buxus, calendula, camellia, cassia (Golden Shower Tree), cineraria, crepe myrtles, fox gloves, geraniums, gardenias, gazanias, grevillea, hibiscus, jacaranda, lavender, lobelia, magnolia, mandevilla, murraya, natives, nandina, oleander, ornamental plums, pandorea, pansies, plumbago, poinciana, poppies, roses, scaevola, salvia, star jasmine, sweet peas, syzygium (lilly pillies), succulents, topiary specimens, viola, viburnum and westringia.
Plant now in your edible garden: Artichoke, basil, beetroot, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, broad beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chicory, chives, citrus trees, coriander, climbing beans, deciduous fruit trees such as apples, pears, plums etc, endive, fennel, figs, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, marjoram, mint, mizuna, nectarines, olives, onions, oregano, pak choy, parsley, parsnip, passionfruit, paw paw, peas, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, rocket, rosemary, sage, silverbeet, spring onions, spinach, tarragon, thyme.
What’s In Flower This Month: Agapanthus, alyssum, banksias, begonia, bougainvillea, butterkins (Sida), camellia sasanqua, canna, carnations, cassia (Golden Shower Tree), correa, crown of thorns (Euphorbia), cuphea, delonix (Poinciana Tree), dianthus, duranta, eremophila, erigeron, frangipani, gardenia, geranium, grevillea, hibiscus, illyarrie (Eucalyptus erythrocorys), kangaroo paws, magnolia, mandevilla, marigold, murraya, oleander, ozothamnus, pandorea, pansies, plumbago, potato jasmine, roses, salvia, scaevola, stephanotis, strelitzia, viola and westringia.
Garden Jobs for April
1. Feed Roses. April sees a wonderful revival in the rose garden. Mild days bring on the autumn flush, leading to spectacular flushes of blooms through April and May. To support this growth continue feeding roses monthly until the end of May. Dawson’s All Purpose Fertiliser or Eco Growth Prime Garden will give excellent results and remember to always water in well.
2. Prepare ground and plant winter and spring flowering annuals. April and May are fantastic times to plant winter and spring flowering annuals such as alyssum, calendulas, pansies primulas, stocks, and violas. The warm autumn soil means these seedlings get off to a roaring start, putting on good growth before winter slows growth. Prepare soil by blending in some soil improver and sprinkle on some controlled (slow) release fertiliser such as Baileys Pots & Flowers Apex Controlled Release Fertiliser. Supplement this by a fortnightly liquid feed with Flourish.
3. Sow Sweet Peas. These ornamental peas are grown for their sweetly fragrant springtime flowers. Mid April to late May are the optimum planting times in Perth, but if you’re a traditionalist, plant Sweet Peas on Anzac Day! They are great to grow on a sunny wall or fence, just requiring a plastic or wire lattice to grow up. Prior to planting soak seeds in water over night, then sow into soil which has been improved with the addition of soil improver. Plant seeds 2cm deep and 20cm apart. Protect emerging seedlings from marauding snails with a quality snail bait like Multiguard Snail & Slug Killer.
4. Select Spring flowering bulbs. Bulbs such as Tulips and Hyacinths will benefit from some chilling prior to planting. Store in brown paper bags in your crisper (not freezer) for 4-8 weeks prior to planting. Aim to have bulbs planted by the end May-early June.
5. Look out for fungal leaf diseases on roses. Autumn rains combined with mild days and cooler nights, can encourage the development of rose leaf diseases. Powdery mildew and black spot, in particular can be troublesome. Combat these diseases with some preventative spraying to keep them at bay. Spray fortnightly with Eco Fungicide (in conjunction with Eco Oil), Sharp Shooter Rose Black Spot & Natural Pyrethrum Concentrate or Rose Shield Black Spot & Insect Pest Killer.
6. Plant seed potatoes. Plant seed potatoes now for bountiful winter and spring crops.
7. Plant Garlic. Prepare beds by digging in some soil improver, sheep or cow manure. Place garlic bulbs in the refrigerator for 1 week, prior to planting. Seed garlic bubs can be broken down into a number of cloves (usually about 6-10). Rake over and level beds for planting, then plant garlic cloves with the pointy end facing upwards, 3cm below the soil surface and cover well. Space rows 30cm apart with 10cm between plants. Best planting time is late March and April. Garlic can be planted as late as the 22nd of June, but the later you plant, the smaller the resulting bulbs will be at harvest time. For detailed garlic growing information see our Garlic Fact Sheet
8. It’s time to crank up your vegetable beds for autumn plantings. Prepare beds by cultivating to a depth of 25-30cm. Blend in organic materials such as compost, sheep and cow manure at a rate of about 50/50 to the existing soil. If soil is non wetting treat with a wetting agent like Eco Wet or consider blending in Soil Solver, a mineral clay soil builder. The clay changes the physical properties of the soil allowing it to hold more water and nutrients.
9. Buy Everlasting Daisy seed. Purchase seed now to have ready to sow following the significant rains in late April-May. Our Western Australian Everlasting Daisies like Rhodanthe chlorocephala are famous the world over. You can have your own mini Kings Park Wildflower Show at home. Best sowing sites are sunny and well drained. Mix seed with sand or potting mix to make spreading easier.
10. Feed and revive your lawn. Lawns respond well to the milder weather of autumn. Support autumn growth with a feed of a quality lawn food like Eco Growth Eco Emerald. This rock mineral based food is naturally slow release and feeds lawns in an environmentally responsible way. It also contains a range of beneficial microbes to assist with nutrient delivery and helping to build healthy soils. Treat non wetting dry patches with a soil wetter such as Eco Wet.
April Planting Guide
1. Apple Pinkabelle – A compact apple tree, bearing delicious, crisp and juicy, Pink Lady style apples. Growing to only 2m high and 1m wide, with an attractive pyramid shaped canopy. Ideal for growing along the fence or in large tubs on decks or balconies. Fruit matures late April-early May. Best planted with a suitable pollinator like Leprechaun (recommended) or Granny Smith, Gala, Red Fuji or Sundowner.
2. Apple Leprechaun – A compact apple tree, bearing beautiful green skinned, crisp, Granny Smith type Apples. In growth and habit it is identical to Pinkabelle. Makes Pinkabelle and Leprechaun the perfect planting and pollinating partners. Leprechaun is the perfect choice for small gardens or large tubs, growing to only 2m high and 1m wide. Fruit matures in April. Pollinate with Pinkabelle (recommended) or Gala, Jonathan, Pink Lady, Red Fuji or Sundowner.
3. Autumn Camellias – The camellia season is about to begin. Our bumper new seasons crop of Sasanqua Camellias are in full bud and ready to bloom this autumn! Sasanquas are often called “Autumn Camellias” because of their happy knack of flowering over autumn, with varieties beginning to flower as early as March. Sasanquas are the hardiest of the Camellias with an almost “bullet proof” constitution. They are relatively fast growers, growing to between 1.5m and 3-4m high. This makes them perfect for screening and hedging use. But that’s not all! They make wonderful container plants when planted in large tubs. You can even try your hand at espalier, training them on walls and fences. Like most Camellias, sasanquas favour positions in dappled light or morning sun and afternoon shade, but they will also tolerate full sun provided they are well mulched and watered over the warmer months. Camellias require slightly acidic soil conditions, so to grow them successfully in Perth’s limey sands, blend in Dawson’s Soil Improver at the rate of 2 parts soil improver to 2 parts soil (a 50: 50 mix). Follow up by applying coarse grade acidic mulch like Chunky Pine Bark Mulch, leaving a 10-15cm bare circle around the stem. Begin or add to your Camellia collection with these beautiful Autumn flowering varieties; Beatrice Emily, Hiryu, Jean May, Jennifer Susan, Pure Silk, Rose Ann, Setsugekka, Shishi Gashira, Snow Cloud, Yuletide and more!
4. Dwarf Plums – These modern forms of favourite traditional varieties will grow to only 1.5-3m in height. This makes these dwarf varieties much easier to prune, net and spray. It’s good news for modern gardeners with smaller gardens. Remember plums require cross pollination for reliable cropping so check labels for information regarding suitable pollinators. Choose from dwarf Plum varieties including Dwarf Gulf Ruby, Mariposa, Santa Rosa, Satsuma and Sunrise Gulf.
5. Dwarf Apricots – Apricots have also down-sized to fit into smaller, modern Gardens. Just when you thought you didn’t have space for fruit trees, now you do! Dwarf apricots grow only to around 1.5-2m high, making them a perfect fit for small gardens or large tubs. Choose from Dwarf Apricot varieties like Fireball, Moorpark, Newcastle and Trevatt.
6. Bougainvillea White Cascade – Bougainvilleas like the pure white flowering White Cascade, are at their brilliant best during the balmy days of autumn. Use them to cover walls fences or pergolas, for screening or security hedging, grow them in large tubs or allow them to scramble up old tree stumps. They are real sun lovers and very tough once established. Right now is a good time to plant and establish Bougainvilleas.
7. Chinese Tallow Trees – One of the most popular, autumn foliage trees grown in Perth and deservedly so. A medium sized specimen tree suitable for gardens small and large. Lovely rounded canopy. Grows to 5-8m high and 3-4m wide. Plant now and enjoy its autumn colour parade as leaves turn shades of yellow, red, orange and tan. Beautiful advanced trees available now.
8. Hedging Hibiscus – Plant yourself a beautiful, flowering Hibiscus hedge. These easy growing shrubs offer great value. In Perth they have a wonderfully long flowering period from mid-late spring right through to early winter. Prune established bushes back by at least a third, early in spring, to maintain form and vigour. These versatile plants make ideal hedges, screens or windbreaks and are just the thing for hiding the fence line. They look great around pools and perform well in coastal gardens. Try favourite varieties like; Apple Blossom, Celia, Cuban Variety, Full Moon, Kerry Wilson, Mrs George Davis, Pendunculatum, Red Rover, Sabrina, Swan Lake and Tiny Tina.
9. Star Jasmine Sun Lover – Enjoy the elegant difference of this new form of Chinese Star Jasmine. Sun Lover features fragrant, white star shaped flowers and cream and green marbled foliage. This hardy and rewarding climber, has low water requirements once established and will grow in full sun to semi shade positions. It can also be utilized as a rambling groundcover.
Feature Rose – Mothers Love
Mother’s Love is one of the most popular roses we sell at Dawson’s, in fact it has become a firm favourite since its release in 2001. Mother’s Love is a hybrid tea rose growing to 150cm high. It has soft, white to creamy pink, exhibition quality blooms. The delicious, sweet fragrance is a bonus. It’s a worthy addition to any rose garden and with Mother’s Day just around the corner it’s the perfect gift for your Mum.