During April I finish cutting back most of the borderline hardy perennial plants in the garden (fuchsias, pentstemon, phygelius). I leave the abutilons until some new growth appears as I only cut back the portions of these shrubs that have been killed by frost to try to keep them as large as possible (Some of the abutilons are quite tender and the larger they are the less likely they are to be killed by a very hard frost). We can still experience cold weather during early April. Because of this I usually delay sowing of vegetable seeds until the middle of the month . I usually sow mini lettuce, spring onions and parsnips in April. I only have a small vegetable plot and these are my favorites and have the added advantage of being relatively easy to grow. I sow them in modules in the cold frame and plant out in early May. Most of the garden is now devoted to permanent planting so I do not grow lots of bedding plants from seed preferring to let somebody else do the hard work and buy a few trays of garden ready specimens in late May. However I do like to try out a few new seed varieties each year. I leave sowing nearly all my seeds until March/April as they need less heat to keep them going and can be quickly moved from my very small greenhouse to the cold frame. The seeds I am sowing this year are :-
Asarina - A climbing plant with snapdragon like flowers
Morning Glory (Ipomoea) - My favorite climber
Sweet peas - Always good for cut flowers for the house
Stipa Tenuissima and Anemanthele lessoniana- Perennial grasses
Eccremocarpus (Chilean glory vine) - Very bright flowers and easy to grow climber
Afro/french marigold - These hybrid varieties give very good performance
Pentstemon Tubular Bells Rose - I usually treat these seed raised pentstemons as annuals
Antirrhinum Frosted flames - Variegated foliage
Thumbergia Blushing Susie - A new red flowered variety of this tender climber
A few hardy annuals - Marigolds, sunflowers, Trailing Nasturtium, - Easy to grow and good for filling gaps in the garden.
Pieris formosa has the advantage of red new leaves and cascades of white flowers and is at its best in April.
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