Verdant View – April 2023

April – Renewal & Rebirth

The etymology behind the word “April” comes from the verb “aperire,” which means “to open.” It’s commonly believed that the word refers to the season of trees and flowers beginning to open or bloom.

Easter 2023 will be observed on Sunday, April 9. As a child I always felt that spring started on Easter. The flowers would bloom and the trees would flower and start to fruit, the buzzing insects were more plentiful and the birds were busy courting one another and making their nests. My mother’s garden seemed to have awakened from a fairy tale winter’s sleep, bustling with life.

One of our family Easter rituals found my brother George and me tagging along to my father’s tailor to have our Easter suits created for the special day. Each year brought a new suit. We’d wait and wiggle while the tailor took our measurements that year and then waited and waited what seemed an eternity, which was really two weeks for the final suits to be delivered. My older sisters, Cecy and Sandra, had dresses made by hand by my mother. The dresses somehow were always identical in style, but done in different pastel colors. So, dressed to the nines, we piled into my dad’s Rambler wagon and dashed to church, then to an early dinner at my godfather’s house, and then back home.

My mother would hide the previously dyed Easter eggs in her garden. There were eggs hidden in the trees, hidden under the mulch, in empty cans reserved for potting, in the tool shed, etc. The child who found the most Easter eggs won the competition. We actually were all winners since we all received Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, candy-covered almonds, and jelly beans. The Easter egg hunt in the garden was my favorite part of the day. The place was alive with new growth, bright colors, scintillating scents, treats, and laughter.

Monday, March 20th, marks the “spring equinox” or vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. On the March spring equinox, the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere receive roughly equal amounts of sunlight; neither hemisphere is tilted more toward or away from the Sun than the other.

What to plant in April

From now through mid-June, when the rainy season begins, the weather is hotter and drier. The viveros now will have lantana, portulaca, and baby’s breath. Don’t forget Aztec lily, agapanthus, and daylilies, which are things that also do well all year-round. Start forget-me-nots, nemesia for borders and containers, and Osteospermum (Star of the Veldt), with its long blooming and colorful daisy-like flowers. It is now time to start eggplant, pepper, and tomato seeds in flats or pots for later transplanting, as well as to put lettuce seeds into the garden. Remember that you have to protect your young seedlings from the intense heat and sun and to water them faithfully until the rains begin. Deadhead and water regularly. Pruning is an ongoing process here and encourages new growth. It’s a good time to consider cacti and succulents.

Wait until the end of the month to sow or transplant vegetables and fruits that prefer very warm weather to mature, including beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, peppers, pumpkins, and squash.

The weather from now through June is ideal for planting citrus, avocados, and other tender trees such as kiwis, kumquats, and pomegranates. For growing in containers, be sure to choose dwarf varieties. For the best choice in citrus, look for trees with many strong branches, a smooth graft union, and deep green leaves.

To temper the drying and heating effects of the sun, mulch the soil, especially with organic matter such as leaves or grass clippings, and irrigation will be more effective with less frequency and quantity. Digging compost and animal manure into your garden soil will help to improve the texture as well as furnish valuable nutrients.

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Francisco Nava
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1 thought on “Verdant View – April 2023”

  1. Hi Francisco

    Do you know about trees as well?
    We have a beloved older lime (limon) tree which has suddenly begun to look a little strange.
    Do you tree diagnosis?

    Please call me at 376 766 1175 or use the Email


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