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Leighton's gardening blog

Leighton here with my gardening blog, not only do I love presenting the Daytime show but love the garden too. So I'm sharing my hints and tips with our VIP listeners.

Plant of the month for April

Magnolia

Magnificent flowering plants featuring blossoms in white, pink, red, purple, or yellow. Magnolia trees are diverse in leaf shape and plant form, and they include both evergreen and deciduous sorts.

 

Whether evergreen or deciduous, most magnolias have large, striking blossoms composed of petal-like segments. Some are grown for use as foliage plants.

 

Magnolias perform best in a loamy, well drained soil but rich in organic matter. You can make an easy contribution to the organic bit by putting plenty of compost or well rooted manure into the planting pit and keeping the plant regularly mulched. Magnolias are surface rooting plants which respond well to mulching. 

A slightly acidic soil is best. Lime or alkaline soils are more difficult for magnolias.

 

Here are my quick facts in a nutshell:

Group Shrub or tree
Flowering time Spring, summer
Planting time Autumn, winter and spring
Height and spread 2-15m (6½-50ft) by 3-10m (10-33ft)
Aspect Sun or part shade, sheltered
Hardiness Fully hardy but flower buds may be frosted
Difficulty Moderate

 

Your lawn, tips on what to do this month:
 

• Sow lawn seed now on well prepared soil and keep the soil moist whilst the seed is germinating.

• For an instant lawn, lay new turf now and ensure it is kept moist until established.

• Repair any bare patches in your lawn.

• Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn now for a boost to the start of the season.

• Now is a good time to apply specialist lawn weed killers to your lawn where moss and weeds are a problem.

• On dry days, brush away any worm casts on the lawn.

• Mow your lawn more regularly as required, mower blades can be lowered towards the end of the month.

• Recut lawn edges to straighten them up. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier. 

• Aerate compacted areas of lawn by spiking it with a garden fork.