What to do in your garden: April showers will bring more flowers!

Find out what to do, see and plant in your garden this April to encourage pollinators and other wildlife into your wildlife haven's on your doorstep.

If you’ve signed up to the Get Dorset Buzzing campaign, you may have already planted your free wildflower seeds.  Don’t let the rain put you off - this is a great time of year to do it, and as the year progresses there will be more activity in your garden, and also plenty more garden jobs! 

Our Get Dorset Buzzing Community Conservation Officer, Katie, has the low-down on what activity should be happening in your garden this month to give the best chance for pollinators and other wildlife to have a happy and thriving spring.

What to do:

  • Leave your dandelions, clovers and plantains to flower in your lawn– they are a great source of nectar. 
  • Deadhead spring bulbs like daffodils but leave stem to die back naturally to allow nutrients to go back into bulb. 
  • Water, water everywhere! Bees need to drink just like us and having sources of water at different heights in your garden can be beneficial. 
  • Mulch your garden – this will lock in moisture and feed your plants nutrients over the summer months. You can use different materials for this including well-rotted manure, leaf mould or bark chippings for example. Make sure the bed is moist before mulching.
  • Bring out your solitary bee home from the garage/shed or make one and fix in to a sheltered but sunny position in the garden. 
Bee hotel © Jane Adams

What to see: 

Pollen beetles 

Orange tip butterfly 

Comma butterfly 

Small tortoiseshell butterfly 

Brimstone butterfly – This pale green butterfly will visit yellow flowers such as primroses and daffodils and is also our species of the month

Red-tailed bumblebee will love your dandelions! 

Common carder bee will love your comfrey! 

Ladybirds 

Chiffchaff 

Frog/toad spawn 

Swifts/swallows 
Hedgehog 

Pipistrelle bat 

Brimstone © Austin Morley

Brimstone © Austin Morley

What to PLANT 

This is the time to plant out or sow those plants that will give you colour from Summer to Autumn. Our top recommendations for nectar and pollen rich plants are:

  • Sow hardy annual wildflower mix- may contain flowers like poppies, cornflowers, corn marigold, and corncockle. Perhaps use a seed tray then plant out when they big enough. 
  • Plant Lavender: The scent will fill your borders throughout summer. 
  • Lambs ear – the fluffy leaves are the perfect material for wool carder bees to line their nests with. 
  • Sow other hardy annuals like Lupins, Nasturtium, Vipers bugloss (Echium
  • Plant a climber like Honeysuckle (Lonicera) or Ivy. 
  • Plant perennials like Hollyhocks, Cosmos, Cone flower (Echinacea), Granny’s bonnets (Aquilegia) or common or Musk mallow. 
  • Sow nettles in a container pot including white dead nettle,  
  • Plant herbaceous perennials like or catmint (Nepeta)or sea holly (Eryngium) which will flower the following year 
  • Sow a seed mixture containing wildflowers such as greater knapweed, field scabious, common teasel, betony, lesser knapweed, wild marjoram, meadow cranesbill, red clover, St Johns wort, tufted vetch, vipers bugloss, wild foxglove, white clover, Harebell, clustered bell flower, birdsfoot trefoil, greater knapweed, self heal, hedge woundwort, kidney vetch. 
  • Plant Primroses and cowslip now for instant Spring colour. 

Check out our species of the month for April, which is one of the first spring wildlife sightings: the brimstone butterfly.  Let us know if you’ve seen one!    

It’s also not too late to take part in the wildlife friendly gardening competition for 2019.  If your garden is already welcoming wildlife, why not apply?  Deadlines for applications is 31st May 2019.