April turned out to be an average sort of month, some warm days, a bit of rain and a few frosts; its my guess that May will also be similar but with a few days warmer than average. Growth is early, as we expected, with plenty of moisture in the ground, and with good light and reasonable temperatures it is a classic good growing spring!
I am expecting that with all this early growth we are likely to be hedge cutting sooner, and a bit later on it may well be the case that summer pruning of fruit trees will also be a week or so early. The problem with this is that many birds will be having second broods, so be sure to carefully examine plants to be pruned for active nests and if you find one it won’t hurt to wait a week or two. So please be patient!
The early spring weather is happening on the other side of the Channel as well. Whilst in France in April I planted out bedding and hanging baskets, and sowed haricot beans in the third week of April. Now that is early!
With warm days expected this month be sure to move young plants and seedlings out into a sunny spot otherwise they will make a lot weak growth that will need pinching back and be vulnerable to attack by aphids and other pests. Be ready with a light sheet to cover the plants if the evening is likely to be chilly and remember those soft shoots are much in demand by mice and birds so choose the site carefully and use some strips of foil or old CDs.
A recent report on the use of netting in the garden and with commercial crops has indicated a higher number of deaths by birds that become tangled and left to struggle for days. This is a very distressing sight and they will need very gentle handling while the netting is cut away to set them free again. Some years ago I was involved with releasing rescued hedgehogs with a lady in the village who worked as a volunteer at an animal rescue centre. I don’t remember how many were released over the years but I enjoyed seeing them around our gardens at my end of the village. Alas I have to say that in recent years I have not seen a single hedgehog. Where have they gone? I would love to hear reports from around the village to reassure me please!