April Garden Planner

by Scott Duncan

Master gardener Scott Duncan makes suggestions for this month of April, Jack Holland tells us about varieties he uses to achieve three seasons of blooms in our Garden Planner.

  1. During April gardening gets underway in earnest. Local garden centers are getting annuals and perennials in, just in time for clearing skies and warmer temperatures. By the end of the month overnight frosts are rare but not unheard of for most of Delmarva.

  2. Plant bare-root trees, shrubs and roses; container-grown trees, shrubs, perennial herbs, and flowers; some perennial fruits and vegetables.

  3. If you did not do it in the fall, divide perennials once they have foliage at least a couple of inches tall.

  4. Cut back last year's dead ornamental grasses like Liriope to about 5", being careful not to cut any new growth.

  5. Clear out the debris and muck from your pond or water garden and put in the compost bin.

  6. Plant germinated seeds you have started indoors when the small plants start to look healthy and have a number of leaf sets. Protect seedlings from cold with mulch or hay.

  7. Deadhead spring-blooming bulbs to give energy back to the roots for next year's growth.

  8. Fertilize roses organically by working compost or fish emulsion in around the base of the shrub every 6 weeks or so. Note: Some rose fertilizers include a systemic pesticide which allows you to feed and prevent pests at the same time. However, these pesticides also can kill butterflies and beneficial insects.

Recently we brought you an interview with Jack Holland, of the Somerset County Garden Club, about the upcoming daffodil show coming up April 2&3 in Princess Anne. We also talked about having gardens in bloom for all three growing seasons - Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Many of the flowers Jack prefers have to be started from bulbs in the Fall but there is one annual he relies on for continuous color even through the arid days of August. Jack has daffodils and peonies in the spring followed by day lilies in the summer. For fall he has some chrysanthemums, but zinnias bloom from summer sometimes until the first frost.

Jack begins his seeds directly in the soil outdoors after the last frost which is usually around April 15.

Get links to hardiness maps, planting guides, and more on our Living Coastal web page.