April in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for April. Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.
You can download this calendar at: http://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/monthly-garden-tasks-april
Best of Show:
Flowers: tree/shrub: *Carpenteria californica, Ceanothus spp., Peritoma arborea (Cleome isomeris), Malacothamnus fasciculatus; smaller shrubs:Calystegia macrostegia, Camissonia cheiranthifolia, Constancea (Eriophyllum) nevinii, Coreopsis species, Dendromecon rigida, Diplacus spp., Encelia spp, Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa, *Keckiella antirrhinoides, Lupinus albifrons, Malacothamnus clementinus, *Perityle incana, Salvia leucophylla, Trichostema lanatum, * Venegasia carpesioides; Annuals/perennials/bulbs: *Allium unifolium, * Aristida purpurea, Bloomeria crocea, Camissonia spp., Clarkia spp., Dichelostemma capitatum, Erigeron ‘Arthur Menzies’ , Gilia spp., Iris douglasiana, *Heuchera spp., Layia platyglossa, Lupinus (annual), Malacothrix saxatilis, *Mentzelia lindleyi, Nemophila menziesii, Platystemon californicus, Salvia (annual), Sidalcea malviflora, Sisyrinchium bellum, Stachys spp., Trifolium spp.
Fruits/berries: lemons and tangerines are still very showy
Foliage: shiny green new Ceanothus leaves
· Take home one new idea from the garden tours or visiting native plant/botanic gardens. Plan how to incorporate that idea into your garden
· Visit spring plant sales; purchase judiciously
· Fertilize containers if needed
· From seed: Collect seed from early spring wildflowers; still time to start traditional summer veggies like squash, bean, melons, tomato
· Excellent month for planting bog and pond/pool plants
· Plant riparian species and desert species from spring through summer
· Taper off water for early spring bulbs when the leaves start to wither
· Taper off water for early spring wildflowers
· Check hoses, soaker hoses and drip irrigation; repair & replace as needed
· Check soils as they begin to dry out. Turn on irrigation or begin routine summer watering schedule when appropriate.
· Give the garden a last good soaking. Do it during a cool period to simulate rain
Tip-prune (pinch) to promote fullness (if not blooming):
· Diplacus spp,
· Plants in Mint Family (Mentha arvense; Monardella spp; Lepechinia fragrans, Clinopodium/Satureja; Stachys ),
· Gambelia (Galvezia) speciosa
· Ribes viburnifolium
· Rejuvenate/prune wetland plants in ponds, pools or rain gardens
Weeds/Diseases/Pests: major weeding month
· Weedy grasses: Crabgrass, Bermuda Grass, Kikuyu grasses start to grow with warm weather
· Look particularly for the following weeds: Common knotweed, Wild radish, Prickly lettuce, Prickly ox-tongue, Wild mustard even Yellow star-thistle. Remove while they’re small (they make tons of seeds).
· Collect dry seeds from early wildflowers (except Lupine, which are toxic); parch and use as a seasoning/flavoring agent
· Prune some leaves from Salvias; dry for later use
· Use the ‘mint’ cuttings for fresh mint tea, other uses
· Press spring flowers in a plant press for use in greeting cards, bookmarks, etc.
Enjoying the garden: major enjoying month
· Celebrate California Native Plant Week (4/15 to 4/25) and Earth Day (4/22)
· Make a bouquet of spring wildflowers for your table
· Enjoy the spring peak of bloom; get out in your garden as much as possible – sit and enjoy the show you created!
· Watch for butterflies – photograph them on your spring flowers
· Go on the CNPS and Theodore Payne Foundation spring garden tours – bring your camera and notebook. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
· Invite a friend over; tell them about your native plants