Let’s Talk About April
By Pat Cordray
Gardening in April is such a treat. So many fragrant plants blooming and everything’s looking beautiful. Don’t wait too long to take a stroll to enjoy these beautiful plants because the heat is on it’s way.
In April, we move away from fall and early spring bloomers, like pansy, viola and snapdragons, and move toward the plants that can take the heat and humidity that is a part of gardening on the Texas Gulf Coast.
With our mild winter this past year; you probably don’t have too much that didn’t make it. It is more likely that your garden is a jungle needing to be tamed. Now that it is April, there are no worries about the cold weather, you can trim those tropicals back, if you haven’t already done that. If your camellias and azaleas have finished blooming, go ahead and trim them back and feed them. These plants start working on next year’s blooms in June, so don’t wait too long.
For late spring and summer color what should you plant? I would plant vinca, salvia, fire cracker fern, zinnias, bat face cuphea, cigar plant, blue daze , coleus, cone flower, angelonia, pentas, caladiums, scavaolea, gomphrena, Dahlberg daisy, euryops, and/or cosmos for full sun color. All of these plants will have color or bloom for you as long as it is warm with proper sun, water, soil, and fertilizer. For a shadier area you can use coleus, begonias (I love Dottie’s eyelash), impatiens, torenia, caladiums, ajuga (I love burgundy glow & chocolate chip), Columbine, foxglove, mona lavender, Persian shield, shrimp plant, Texas bluebell, golden globes, wood violets, and Australian violets. These are fantastic shade tolerant plants that add color during our summer months.
Besides trimming what can you do this month? There is still time for planting veggies in your garden. Corn, cucumber, Southern peas, peppers, watermelons, okra, eggplant, beans, radish, and squash can go in the ground in April. If you are thinking of tomatoes, go for the bigger plants, at least in a one-gallon container. All of this food is making me hungry.
Herbs are another way to add interest and flavor to your garden. Most herbs will grow great in full sun and in a raised bed. What if you don’t have space for that? You can add herbs to your ornamental or vegetable gardens, they won’t mind. Herbs grow great in containers, too. Place your herb container close to the back door so its easy to cut herbs for use in the kitchen. What if you don’t have full sun? Plant parsley, comfrey, dill, cilantro, lemon balm, chervil, basil, sweet woodruff and anise hyssop in those areas that don’t have full sun. Herbs add interest to a garden or container, flavor for food and beverages, attract beneficial insects and repel bad insects, can be added to cut flower arrangements and used to make potpourri. Herbs make any garden more enjoyable with the scent that they release on a breeze.
Enjoy your April garden,