April and old-fashioned roses go hand in hand. Seems you can't have one without the other.
There's something romantic and wonderful about old-fashioned roses. Most are powerfully scented, disease-resistant and tough as nails. They have wonderfully evocative names like Reve d'Or, Malmaison, White Pearl in Red Dragon's Mouth, Lavender Lassie and Apothecary Rose. And they are in their glory this month.
Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery, on the corner of Broadway and Riverside, is home to a nationally known heritage rose garden. It sports about 400 old-fashioned roses. The garden covers about two acres and encompasses more than 200 family plots. The roses are all labeled.
There's no charge to visit, and the cemetery is open every day.
Earwigs are on the prowl. Seedlings and flowers are their favorite foods. Walk through the garden with a flashlight at night, and you'll likely see them everywhere. You can handpick them and toss them in a trash bag. There are baits that kill them, but be careful if you have kids or pets. Sluggo Plus works on earwigs, slugs and snails, and is nontoxic to pets and children.
Be diligent about eliminating standing water to control mosquitoes. Use mosquito fish in ponds.
Last chance to plant pansies and primrose. Summer bulbs are still available in nurseries: gladiolus, tuberous begonias, cannas and callas.
Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants. Old stems from last year should be cut to the ground.
The soil should be warm enough for transplanting tomatoes and peppers into the ground.
Keep harvesting leaves from chard, arugula and lettuce to keep plants producing. Once the weather gets warm, the plants will bolt (produce flowers and make seeds). There's nothing you can do about it. Replace them with heat-tolerant greens.
Frost tender plants can go outside this month.
Keep planting marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, petunias and coreopsis.
Feed camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and gardenias with an acid-type fertilizer. If the foliage on the plants is yellow, spray with a foliar fertilizer containing iron and zinc.
Clean up fallen camellia flowers to prevent the spread of petal blight.
Thin the fruit on fruit trees. Fruit should be about 6 inches apart.
Top dress roses with compost, ditto for garlic, shallots, onions and tomatoes.
Resist impulse buying at the nursery. Make sure the plant that wows you and that you think you can't live without will thrive in your garden and that you have space for it.
Pull out your hats and sunscreen. The sun is more powerful this time of year than you may think.
Trim frost damaged limbs, winter damaged perennials back now.
Mulch garlic plants to discourage weeds and conserve moisture.
Keep row cover, newspaper, blankets handy for late frosts.