Fantastic Lakes gardeners are nearly giddy with all the things to see and do in April. The garden bursts into bloom, the garden facilities open with cool-season annuals beckoning and gardening starts in earnest.
Welcome April Blooms
The larger bulbs take centre stage from the backyard in April, starting with daffodils, such as these sturdy Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’. They shrug off the April snow. Planting daffodils with early-, mid- and late-season blossoms extends the series.
Daffodils provide the most bang for your buck, as they are poisonous and mammals do not consume them, and they reunite reliably. They may be rejuvenated by dividing crowded clumps.
When it would not be spring without large tulips, that the small-species tulips, such as this Tulipa humilis var. Violacea, are much more perennial. Like larger tulips, little species require protection from deer, squirrels and rabbits.
Minor bulbs squill (Scilla siberica), grape hyacinth (Muscari sp) along with attractiveness of the snow (Chionodoxa sp) make good companions for larger bulbs.
Woody plants start blooming in April, beginning with forsythia (revealed) and continuing with flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp) and the native serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis).
Forsythias look best in their natural form. There is no need to shear them to keep size when there are many good dwarf cultivars available to fit in the smallest backyard without pruning.
Some woody plants have blossoms that cologne the April backyard, including Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) and celebrity magnolia (Magnolia stellata), revealed.
Frosts and freezes can harm the delicate blossoms of magnolias, therefore be careful to site them at a safe location.
Cherish Woodland Natives
Now is the perfect time to visit your nearest wooded area, be it a park, arboretum, botanical garden or character place, to visit woodland wildflowers in their glory.
Native spring ephemerals sprout and bloom beneath trees before they leaf out, for instance, tiny trout lily (Erythronium albidum), a species related to the showy exotic dog-tooth violet (Erythronium dens-canis), which also blossoms in April.
The larger native bluebells (Mertensia virginica) bloom a sea of blue, then vanish. To prevent holes in the garden left by vanished spring ephemerals, plant hostas in front of them. The hostas will leaf out following the blooming display has ended.
Native wildflowers (Thalictrum thalictroides, aka Anemonella thalictroides) are not emphemeral under moist conditions and may rebloom in fall in partial color.
Similarly, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) blossoms in April, and its foliage may persist into fall to turn butter yellow under suitably moist conditions.
The Egyptian hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. Obtusa) blossoms against the dark reddish old leaves prior to the green foliage emerges. In moist areas, skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) and marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) create their appearance.
These wildflowers can be good garden plants if you plant them in areas in your backyard that fit their preferred habitat.
See more Great Lakes native plants
Remember April Garden Tasks
Sow cool-season annuals and edibles. It’s time to sow cool-season annuals and plants, such as this ‘Merlot’lettuce (Latuca sativa), spinach(Spinacia oleracea), kale(Brassica oleracea) and peas(Pisum sativum). All these cool-season edibles can be sown in containers for an earlier crop.
Make certain the soil is workable prior to digging. To determine whether the soil is workable, gather a small amount into a ball in your hand. If it breaks apart easily, digging might start. If, however, the soil remains in a bulge, working it would harm its construction, and compacted soil hinders a plant’s ability to grow.
Plant spring annuals in containers. If a trip to the backyard makes you unable to await the soil to be workable, plant spring annuals, such as pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) and Persian buttercup (Ranunculus asiaticus, revealed), wallflowers (Erysium), inventory (Matthiolia longipetala) and snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) in containers.
Once the soil is workable, perennials from the backyard can be added to the containers for a season-long screen.
Butterflies create their first appearance in April, such as this painted woman on squill (Scilla siberica). Leave bare tiny areas of somewhat depressed soil from the backyard where butterflies can drink from mud puddles. Permit some native violets (Viola sororia) to remain in the yard for frittilary butterflies to use as host crops.
Migrating hummingbirds reach the Fantastic Lakes in April. Hang out feeders for them now.
Put plain sugar from the feeders; do not use anything with red dye in it, which may harm them. Change the nectar every three or four times in cool weather and every day after temperatures reach the 80s. Don’t forget to hang the claws at precisely the exact same location each year so that the hummingbirds can discover them.Clean nest boxes for other birds and provide nonsynthetic lint, string or hair in netting bags for birds to use as nesting materials.
Take time to observe the backyard and its occupants every day: Things change so quickly in April, you can almost see the crops growing.
More ways to bring wildlife into your backyard