Custom Search
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published March 26th, 2014
Cynthia Brian's Gardening Guide for April
By Cynthia Brian
A parade of spring color with delphiniums, tulips, and pansies. Photo Cynthia Brian

"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." - William Shakespeare
Beginning at age 8 when we were taught to drive, it was the responsibility of my siblings and me to water our crops one plant at a time starting in April and continuing throughout the warm months. My parents were "dry farmers," meaning that we had no source of irrigation for our fields. My dad built a stainless steel tank on the back of his World War II Willy Jeep, and every day my sisters and I would pump water from the creek or well into the tank, then drive through the fields stopping at each vine or tree to offer a drink. The work was tedious and arduous yet necessary for the survival of our family farm. Although not always pretty, the fruit from our dry farming techniques was super sweet, delicious, and perpetually in high demand. In another act of water management, my dad snaked the washing machine hose to the asparagus patch where after a long day on the tractor, we'd smother our aches in the warm mud. H2O was precious and never a drop was wasted. April is the month for youthful romping and creative conservation. Get busy digging in the dirt as spring has sprung.

 CUT back all plants, vines, trees, and bushes damaged by winter frosts.
 PRUNE shrubs scheduled to bloom in summer before their growth spurt. Lilacs,
forsythia, and tulip trees can be pruned after they finish their spring bloom.
 GROW hardy, low maintenance cordylines, also known as festival grasses, in large
containers or use in your landscape to provide splashes of vertical color.
 CELEBRATE Earth Day by honoring our planet, the supplier of life to over seven billion
 SUFFERING from arthritis? Seed tape is a quick and easy way to sow seeds when
mobility is compromised. Burpee, Park Seed, and Territorial Seed are among the suppliers
available at your favorite retailer.
 WATCH your water usage. Be responsible with irrigation by watering in the morning or
evening, using gray water whenever possible.
 TAKE pictures of your spring garden to share with others and to use as a guideline for
harvesting times.
 APPLY two to three inches of compost around perennials, trees, and shrubs.
 SKIP tilling your soil unless you are starting a new bed. Tilling has been found to be
harmful to the beneficial microbes, fungi, worms, and insects that help your garden grow.
 CONTINUE planting root crops of turnips, carrots, beets, radishes, and potatoes.
Succession sowing keeps your harvest hearty.
 PULL or cut weeds as soon as they sprout to conserve water and nutrients for the plantings you want to showcase.
 ATTRACT beneficial bugs, bees, butterflies, and birds to your landscape by eliminating all pesticides and insecticides while providing a natural habitat for abundant
food, shelter, water, and protection from prey.
 PROPOGATE drought resistant sexy succulents from cuttings.
 PLANT onions, chives, blueberries, lilies, dusty miller, alyssum, dianthus, and oregano.
 PICK fragrant lilacs and wisteria to decorate your interiors.
 SET out plants that you started indoors in February.
 APPRECIATE the shrill calls of the red-tailed hawks as they rid your garden of moles, voles, gophers, mice, and rats. These hunters can detect a mouse from 360 feet.
 LOOKING for the perfect rose that isn't in your local nursery or garden center? Check out Edmunds' Roses at www.edmundsroses.com for a huge selection in every
color including hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, groundcover roses, climbing roses, antiques, and tree roses.
 CHOOSE bird feeders that are appropriate for the birds that visit your yard. Make sure to keep all feeders away from windows to avoid bird strikes and injuries.
 TRELLIS a dwarf fruit tree for easier harvesting. Apple, peach, pear, plum, and apricot can be trained to grow vertically or horizontally. You may need two trees as
 FILL Easter baskets for the garden lovers on your list with essential garden tools including a pair of sturdy gloves, hand forged trowel, packets of seeds, a water wise
nozzle, and a pot of Dutch tulips.
 PROVIDE privacy with pathway plantings of tall, upright grasses. Screening grasses which may grow to seven feet tall or more include feather reed grass,
switch grass, and maiden grass.
 SCATTER seeds of self-sowers such as cosmos, California poppy, blanket flower, nasturtium, sunflower, and pot marigold for annual fireworks of color.
 STOCK up on cacti, succulents, and other drought tolerant plants at the Spring Opening Plant
Sale on Saturday, April 12 at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek
 DELIGHT in the pop of multihued tulips, delphiniums, aquilegia, muscari,
hyacinths, and freesia parading in your landscape.

Swing into spring and feel like a kid again. Our gardens are
abloom. This earth is yours.
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
(c)2014 Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
http://www.goddessgardener.com, 925-377-7827
Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant.

Grasses can be privacy screens. This Australian grass tree also sports fascinating spires that resemble horns at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. Photos Cynthia Brian
Columbine, an Aquilegia hybrid and delphiniums do well in a sun-dappled shade garden.
Cordylines and New Zealand Flax add texture and color to a landscape.
Cynthia Brian

print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)
Send your comment to:
Reach the reporter at:

This article was pulished on Page 36:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA