April Flowers

This month is like no other for the home gardener. In the bedding-plant department are petunias, marigolds and ageratum to plant in the sun, and begonias and impatiens for the shade. Don't buy petunias that are in full bloom in flats. The flowers are a sign that the plants are getting root-bound.

Roses in bloom are available in five-gallon cans. All semitropicals should go into the ground now: Hibiscus, gardenias, bougainvillea, avocados and citrus, if planted now, will have time to adjust before summer.

Delphiniums in four-inch pots are for sale now; it is too late for those in flats. There are so few plants that have the delphinium's brilliant shades of blue that most of us choose that color to the exclusion of the plant's lavender, purple, raspberry and white shades. The soil cannot be too loamy and rich for delphiniums, and fertilizing with liquid fish will increase their magnificence. Delphiniums in Southern California have one serious enemy--snails. Although you can use snail bait, I know a very successful grower who has used a three-inch-wide circle of bone meal or lime around each plant to deter the miscreants.

Day lilies are a joy because they need so little attention. The only hardship is that the colors are so similar and subtle (with all the new hybrids) that it is not easy to make a choice. Now is a good time to set them into the ground; yet it may be better to wait another six weeks and see them in bloom. Any color of day lily makes a beautiful contrast with agapanthus.

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