“Although we’re working in unique and unprecedented times, there is still plenty to keep myself and my garden team busy at Borde Hill. We’re having to adjust to the new working conditions, ensuring we work in different parts of the garden, and have breaks at different times during the day, but being out in nature is helping to keep spirits high.

April brings a busy time in the garden. The start of British Summer Time heralds a new season where flashes of colour begin to appear across our numerous garden ‘rooms’, and the bright mornings filled with birdsong are hard to beat.

Across the garden we’re continuing to mulch borders to lock in moisture and protect against weeds. 

In the Garden of Allah we’ve finished cutting back the cornus and salix, to ensure they achieve their full size later in the season, whilst in the Blue and Autumn Borders, the team have been coppicing the cotinus and sambucus for foliage. It’s time to prune your hydrangeas and reliable summer-flowering penstemons.

It’s important to prune spring flowering shrubs such as chaenomeles after they finish flowering, as well as ensuring you protect new shoots of plants such as delphiniums and hostas to avoid the slugs and snails getting them. In the Rose Garden, new shoots are beginning to show, and we’re feeding the roses to ensure a strong display of colour later in the season.

Now is the time to fertilise your lawn, and at Borde Hill that means tending to both the South Lawn and also that in the Azalea Ring. As the weather has been good, we have started to mow the lawns, and will sow grass seed from the middle of the month to encourage a good covering throughout the year.

In the glasshouses we’re checking that the heating is effective as frosts are still likely, but also ensuring they are well ventilated as the days begin to warm up. It’s important to watch out for aphid infestations and we often damp down the glasshouses during warm spells to lessen the chance of red spider mite. The team are propagating perennials from basal cuttings including delphiniums, and these will be used to bulk out our herbaceous borders.

Any annuals sown recently should be pricked out, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for damping off. Also note that half hardy annuals can be sown now, and for those with more of an indoor focus, it’s worth remembering to water and feed houseplants, cacti and succulents.

It’s a beautiful time of year with much colour across the garden, including: Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Narcissus, Hellebores, Viburnums, Stachyurus, Primulas, Leucojums, Fritillaries, Camellias, Chaenomeles and Flowering cherries.”