All about April

Things to Do in April in New York City

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

April showers bring May flowers… and lots of exciting things to do in New York City. With spring in the air and dozens of events taking place, April is a great month to visit the greatest city in the world. Here are some highlights!

Tribeca Film Festival
For film buffs, spring in New York means it’s time for the popular Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan. Various cinemas in the Tribeca district showcase hundreds of international films, often with the director and cast ready and waiting to answer questions after the screening. Almost every one of the more than 200 films is a North American, international, or world premiere.

The Easter Parade
Every Easter Sunday, Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th streets is closed to traffic for this colourful and exciting spectacle. The tradition dates back to the mid-1800s when the upper crust of society would attend church services and then parade their new Easter outfits down Fifth for all to see! Starting at 10am, admire the passing parade of participants decked out in creative bonnets and elaborate costumes. There is plenty of entertainment, stunning floral displays and even a real Easter bunny or two. Celebrate Easter services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 50th Street and Fifth, St. Thomas Church on 53rd and Fifth or at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Agendas to Be Considered in the Gardening Seasons

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Except for the extreme North, the gardening season begins about the first of April in all parts of the area. First thing on the agenda is the annual spring clean up.

This consists principally of the removal of the debris that accumulated in the yard and on the lawn during the winter, the uncovering of garden beds and the removal of coverings from evergreens, recently planted trees, clematis vines, roses and other plants that require special winter protection.

Usually the home lawn gets the first attention and there is little need to encourage this activity early in the season. However, in many quarters there seems to be considerable reluctance to remove the leaves or other coverings from garden beds until later in April when frosty weather is less likely to occur.

As a rule, winter protective coverings are kept in place too late and as a consequence, plants may be injured unnecessarily. This is particularly true of roses. Mildew, molds and diseases get established on the canes when coverings are left on too long. Plants are much better off if exposed to the weather early in April. Roses are never injured by low temperatures that may re-occur for a brief time during this month. They develop better when exposed to the sun and air early in the season. It is important to remove winter mulch early so that the earth that was hilled over the base for special winter protection will thaw rapidly, permitting removal as soon as possible.

May – Northern Planting and Garden Making Month

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

May is the main planting and garden making month of the year for those in the North. It is the time to start a new garden, and to work with an established one. Although planting of dormant trees and shrubs can be started in April, most of the planting is done in May. A late spring, or unfavorable weather in April, often delays the planting or transplanting of woody ornamentals until May. This of course, is the time to plant dormant fruit trees and flowering crabapples. Fall planting is too risky for them, but it is safe for all other woody, deciduous plants when properly handled and given winter protection.

The rosy blossomed varieties of ornamental crabapples are the most colorful of the small trees that will grow in the North. Their popularity, however, overshadows another very floriferous white and pink variety that would be rated very high if it were better known. The lovely flowering crabapple, is a beautiful, small tree that never fails to produce a bountiful crop of blooms, year after year.

Southern Gardens Need Pruning and Fertilizer

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Southern gardeners are still talking about the severe winter weather we had and still taking inventory of the heavy toll, when some of the worst cold spells in history ruined many millions of dollars worth of shrubbery. Cold damage does not always show up soon after a cold spell. Some plants will not begin to show signs of trouble until April, May or even June when warm weather brings the plants into active growth. The tops may not show immediate signs of trouble unless the bark splits badly at the very beginning. The tops may stay alive a while on the stored up energy in the stems.

On the brighter side of the picture, this is still a month of breathtaking beauty in southern gardens where deciduous flowering shrubs and trees fill in the gap left by flowerless broad-leaved evergreens. Now the flowering dogwoods, wisterias, flowering peaches and crabs, cherries, redbuds, weeping cherries, spiraeas, bulbs of many kinds and fruit trees in bloom fill the air with the fragrance of spring.

Pruning Back Time

Prune back injured plants to sound, live wood that shows the healthy, moist, green cambium layer directly under the bark. Dead wood often becomes a host for decay organisms. Cut it off as fast as it develops to prevent further spread of possible die-back troubles.

All About Tulip Gardens

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

As the curtain of winter lifts, tulips are one of the first flowers to take the spring stage. As the last drifts of snow seep into the soil, these bright signs of spring dance in the sunlight. However, you don’t have to wait for spring to grow tulips. Whether it lies in a bed, under a shrub, in the crevices of a rock garden or in a container, a tulip bulb is an underground flower factory just waiting to “spring up” from whatever soil it occupies.

The whole purpose of a tulip bulb is to flower. In fact, in the center of each bulb, tiny leaves cradle a baby bud. The white, onion-like bulb that surrounds the bud stores all the nutrients that the bud needs to sprout and grow. The only real help the tulip needs to grow is a generous drink of water and some soil to keep it moist.

Selecting Cultivars

The End of April in Your Garden

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Looking first and foremost at your garden flowers.

All garden-flowering chrysanthemums should be planted out during a mild spell. Keep the rows at least 2 ft. apart, so that you can work comfortably among the plants.

Remove the deadheads from the daffodils, but be patient and allow the foliage to die back naturally.

If the dahlia tubers have been kept fairly moist, they should have by now developed small shoots, and can be planted out in mild areas, allowing 2 ft. 6 ins. between all varieties other than poms. Stakes in position first, please!

When the young shoots reach 3-4 ins. they should be thinned out to ground level to encourage stocky plants.

Pick off pansy and viola deadheads, otherwise the plants will stop flowering and concentrate on reproducing themselves by seeding; and watch out for greenfly.

Waterlilies can be planted from now until June. Warning: don’t let them dry out while waiting to be planted. They do not require a great depth of water: 18 ins. suits them well.

Plant Vegetable Garden in April For Summer Harvest

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Nothing tastes better than garden-grown tomatoes or fresh-cut basil. The time to plant summer vegetable plants is in April to assure a bountiful harvest by July and August.

Plant Your Vegetables: Plant most all types vegetables including tomatoes, squash, beets, corn, sunflowers, spinach, cucumber, melons, okra, peppers and zucchini. Plant either from seed or from starter plants. Before planting, revitalize your garden soil by adding compost especially designed for gardens.

Rotate Your Crops: Maximize plant growth and health by rotating your crops (i.e., plant tomato plants where peppers were grown last year). Planting similar vegetables in the same location year after year pulls the same nutrients from the soil to feed the plants. Rotating crops to different locations in your garden means less stress on the soil. Crop rotation can also reduce the buildup of soil-based diseases and pests. Certain pests prefer specific types of plants. By rotating your crops, pests and diseases won’t have easy access to the plants they prefer. Relocate crops at least 10 feet from their previous location.

Plant Your Herb Garden: Basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, chives, dill and tarragon are just some favorite, easy-to-grow herbs that should be planted in April. Be sure to pinch back flowers that bloom from the herbs to extend the harvest season.

The Mid-April Gardener

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Looking at the flower beds, it is fair to say that annuals will germinate well now. Don’t feel bad in sowing a few annuals in the rock garden and you will enjoy a patch of bright blue Phacelia campanulata to enliven the scene when the spring alpines are over.

A dressing of weathered soot, always providing you can get your hands on it, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have an open fire, then ring a chimney sweep. Soot applied to a damp soil at 3 ozs. to a sq. yd., will darken and help to warm it up. The soot must be stored and mellowed under cover for three months before it can be used with safety.

Plant any gladioli left over for successional cutting. Prepare window-boxes, tubs and other garden containers with a rich compost for planting. Fork a sprinkling of bonemeal into the soil around the rock plants.

Hopefully it will have been done by now but when evergreen planting is completed, try your hand at layering. Rhododendron, Pink Pearl, or any other free-growing commoner, lends itself well for this task. Choose a pliable branch of last year’s growth that will willingly bend to soil level: after making a slit on the underside of the branch, press the incision down into a small heap of peaty-loam that has been generously sprinkled with sand, and hold firm with a stake.

Great April Gardening Tips

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

One of the nicest months in the southwest. (if the wind is not blowing) You may plant just about anything such as tomato plants, fruit trees shade trees, evergreen shrubs, flowering shrubs, bulbs etc. It is also the month that garden centers usually are fully stocked, at least in the southwest.

Now is the time to fertilize your bermuda or warm season grasses at this time if you have not done so in late March. You may also fertilize your fescue, rye, or bluegrass (cool season) lawns if it has been more than 6 weeks since you’ve last fertilized. 16-8-8 with iron, zinc, and sulphur works well if you do not have a problem with weeds. This can be used on both warm season and cool season grasses at this time of year.

If you have oleander, now is the time to cut back any winter damaged leaves or stems it may have suffered from the cold. Shear oleander if you want them to look full and bushy or you may selectively prune branches to give it a more open and air look. You may also prune them into multi-trunked trees, which look quite picturesque when mature.

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