With temperatures rising and days getting longer – gardens are well and truly springing to life, and there is lots to do.

Last year’s top-growth on perennials can be removed, and bulbs that have finished flowering can be deadheaded. Don’t remove (or fold-over) the foliage on bulbs though, as they need this to feed the bulb for next year.

Tidying will reveal gaps. You may well feel the urge to rush out and buy more plants – an urge that keen gardeners will know only too well. Beware, plants are expensive, particularly when they look better planted in groups of 3 or 5. I can rarely bring myself to buy more than one of each, coddling this one and propagating it to increase my stock. This is something I’ll come back to later in the year.

If you’re lucky enough to have some perennials already then dividing them is a cheap and easy way to fill beds and borders. Congested clumps of astrantia, rudbeckias, hardy geraniums, Michaelmas daisies and hostas, amongst many others, can all be split by cutting the root ball into fist-sized sections. Either replant them directly in the ground, or pot up individual plants in peat-free compost to create new plants, perhaps for friends and family?

Seeds are a much cheaper alternative. If the soil has warmed up, and isn’t waterlogged, then April is the month to sow hardy annual flowers like marigolds and antirrhinums (snap-dragons). In Churchill we have a seed-swap (and book-bank) in the old phone box on Front Street. There are seeds in it now, and it would be great if local gardeners could put in some of their favourites. If Langford has a similar swap then let me know and I’ll publicise it.

Gardening shouldn’t be all hard work – get out and visit gardens for inspiration. We have two fantastic local gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme in April. The award-winning Yeo Valley Organic Garden at Blagdon opens regularly through the year, but with the 7 April proceeds donated to the NGS. In Winscombe the beautiful mature Edwardian garden Watcombe, on Church Road, opens on 14 April. Both have tea and cake!