Q: My garden is beginning to come alive. Other than the usual clean-up and watering, what needs to be done this time of year? Jeanette Wolff, Cambria
A: If youre planning on adding new plants to what you have and what gardener isnt nows the time to visit a nursery to pick colors that will accentuate established plantings.
Choose a new clivia for a shady corner, a clematis for arbors and fences. New and exciting varieties of perennials such as agapanthus, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, gaillardia, gazania, verbena and yarrow are best planted now and will give you color for many months of the year.
Plant annuals such as bedding begonias, caladium, coleus, and impatiens in shady areas. In sunny locations, kick up the color with annuals such as marigolds, petunias, phlox, verbena, and zinnias.
With warmer days and chilly evenings, April is ideal for planting cool season vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, snow peas, radishes and chard. Summer vegetables such as beans, corn, and summer squash can be planted now. Pumpkins and melon seeds need warmth to germi nate so start seeds indoors in cooler areas of the county.
Planting is the best part of gardening. But dont be seduced into ignoring the rest of your April gardening tasks. Remove wilted flowers from spring bulbs. Dont remove leaves until they wither and brown. Give these plants a meal of complete fertilizer to nourish the bulb for color next spring.
Divide cymbidiums. Feed bearded irises with high phosphorus and potassium to encourage blooms. Feed citrus with a high nitrogen to green them up. If citrus and ornamentals have yellowing leaves with green veins, feed with chelated iron. Wait to prune wisteria until they have finished blooming.
Your April garden is ready to raise the curtain. Let the show begin!
GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners at 781-5939 on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. in San Luis Obispo; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; or at 434-4105 on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg or e-mail email@example.com.