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The April Garden at Aberglasney 2022

The April Garden at Aberglasney 2022

I doubt that many gardeners in this country would dispute the view that April is a wonderful month for any garden. Each day seems to bring more life, colour and interest from leaves and flowers, insects and pond life to the birds preparing to rear their first broods of the year or arriving back from their winter homes. The lengthening days and higher angles of sun mean that temperatures can climb rapidly sometimes triggering off the very welcome April showers. However, gardeners need to be aware that on clear nights temperatures can fall just as rapidly and that frost protection for the more tender plants might well be needed.

In our own garden in late March and into April there is a lot to enjoy. Our Cherry tree, Prunus ‘The Bride’, is full of flowers and bees having been brought on a little earlier than usual by the sunshine and warmth of the second half of March. The Star Magnolia, M. stellata ‘Royal Star’, is just showing the first few of its lovely white blooms with the promise of many more to come. The shrubs are also playing their part with flowers on our Camellia x williamsii ‘Anticipation’, Forsythia, Skimmia, Ribes and Chaenomeles as well as the pink buds on Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Compact Beauty’. There is also leaf colour from the Spiraea japonica ‘Goldflame’, the purples of Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’ and Corylus ‘Red Majestic’ and the red new growth of Pieris japonica. At ground level Brunnera and Myosotis, Forget-me-not, are showing their lovely blue flowers and Pulmonaria, Hellebores and Honesty are adding pinks and purples to the colour palette. All of these featured in detail in both writing and photographs in my April 2021 blog if you would like a reminder. Also in the archives for April 2021 you will find a blog on ‘Growing your own Fruit and Vegetables’ and in the lockdown days of April 2020 I covered three other topics- ‘Taking Cuttings’, ‘Sowing Seeds for Summer Colour’ and ‘Growing Flowers for the House’ which you may have missed or would like to look at again.


Teresa and I visited Aberglasney on one of those gloriously sunny days in late March and the changes  since our previous visit in late February were obvious throughout the garden. There was new growth everywhere and early flowers in abundance and I am sure that even the lady who asked in the shop ‘are there any flowers out today?’ was not disappointed! At the entrance the seasonal bed is full of a dark blue Forget-me-not and the promise of pink Tulips to join them in April. In the Upper Walled Garden the bare soil of winter is beginning to be covered by the early growth of the herbaceous perennials and numerous spring bulbs mainly in the form of Tulips. Some really large Euphorbias catch the eye at this time of year as do some of the early flowering wall shrubs such as the purple flowered Akebia quinata. Also in the borders at the base of the walls Hellebores and Pulmonarias are still adding lots of colour and providing valuable nectar for the bees.

 In the Lower Walled Garden the trained fruit trees are still the dominant feature but the central beds are beginning to come back to life as the season of sowing and planting begins in earnest.

The gate in the lower wall leads through to the woodland area which is edged by a wildflower meadow which at this time of year is full of one of my favourite bulbs, the Snake’s Head Fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris. These clearly like this moist, grassy area which gets some shade from the edge of the woodland. Further down the path towards the stream and beyond the Crab Apples planted on both sides of the path there is a truly spectacular large-flowered, dark pink Magnolia and on the other side of the path a lovely planting of Narcissi and Snowflakes, Leucojum.


The path continues around the upper part of the woodland and stream area and along it are several more striking plants. The first is an eye-catching Stachyurus chinensis ‘Celina’ with its long, pendulous racemes of small, pale-yellow flowers. A little further along is another reliable spring shrub, a pale pink variety of Ribes sanguineum, the flowering currant.


Nearby are several specimens of Tetrapanax papyrifera the leaves of which are just beginning to emerge following their winter sleep. Opposite and beneath the tall conifers which dominate this area is a bronze-leaved Bergenia which we have been admiring all winter, Bergenia ‘Claire Maxine’.

 The beds running down to the stream have also put a lot of growth on in the last month with plants such as Camassias promising much in the way of blue flower spikes and Gunnera manicata emerging strongly. This area is also full of Primulas, at this stage dominated by the Primrose, Primula vulgaris, but soon to be followed by much more showy Candelabra Primulas.

 Across the path and around the small pool the delicate yellow flowers of a Dog’s Tooth Violet, Erythronium, and the Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris, are a welcome sight as are the rather more robust spathes of the yellow Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanus. In the woodland area itself there are several delightful drifts of Wood anemone, A. nemerosa, lighting up the forest floor.

Back towards the main pool and all important Tearooms there is a lovely specimen tree just coming into leaf. This is a pendulous form of Cercidiphyllum, C. magnificum ‘Pendula’ which literally appeared to be shining in the morning sunlight. Nearby the bed in front of the Melon House is full of early Tulips and still flowering Hellebores and the next bed along the base of the high walls is another planting of Forget-me-nots and Tulips backed by some very impressive Euphorbias, E. mellifera.

 From there we moved on via the Upper Walled Garden to the base of the Alpinum where there is a group of striking Star Magnolias to greet the visitor. The Alpinum itself always looks good in spring with its mixture of spring bulbs, Pulsatilla vulgaris, Pasque Flower, and a very beautiful pink-flowered dwarf Rhododendron.

At the house end of the old aviaries is yet another lovely Magnolia underplanted with Narcissi and a splendid specimen of a late winter/early spring flowering shrub, Corylopsis. The Rose Tunnel which leads back up the slope is full of early leaf growth and is surrounded by hundreds of Tulips which promise much for the month to come.

The steps at the top lead back into the woodland and eventually to the Asiatic Garden where Magnolias, Cherries, Rhododendrons and Camellias are in various stages of their flowering periods. The whole area is just a delight and it is not a surprise to see so many people stopping to admire and photograph the many beautiful plants. One very large pink Magnolia is near the end of its flowering time and the ground beneath was a carpet of large, pink petals. Other Magnolias are just beginning to flower while others are still showing their large, furry buds.

 The Camellias are adding their own special charms to the display with beautiful red, pink and white blooms with the Rhododendrons adding purple to the colour scheme. In other places it is the white Cherry blossom which makes the visitor stop and marvel.

 Eventually when visitors can tear themselves away from these delights they return to the bottom of the slope where the contrast between the riot of colour in the Asiatic garden and the restricted palette of the much more formal Cloister Garden could not be more pronounced. It is, I think, these contrasts between different sections of the gardens even at the same time of year that makes Aberglasney so special. This is surely emphasised by our final port of call which was to the Ninfarium with its exotic Orchids, Bromeliads and many other warm climate plants. Did someone once say that variety is the spice of life?

The Asiatic Garden and the Cloister Garden within a few minute’s walk of each other and the exotic beauties of the Ninfarium within a few minutes more!

 I hope that my words and photographs have shown what a beautiful and interesting garden Aberglasney is in April and that they might encourage you to visit in person. All the details you need can be found on the website at info@aberglasney.org or by phone on 01558 668998.

This brings me on to the jobs for April of which as you know there are quite a few! The full list can be found in the blog archives for April 2019 and the ones that Teresa and I will be concentrating on in our own garden are detailed in the April 2021 blog. These include working on the lawn which has already had a couple of light cuts and the edges neatened. The main April tasks involve scarifying, aerating, adding a combined feed/weed/moss killer and then reseeding any bare patches. In the beds and borders the main task is to keep on top of the weeds either by hand or hoe, to dead head the spring bulbs as the flowers finish and to start putting in the plant supports as the herbaceous plants make their early growth. April is also a good time to move herbaceous perennials and to plant any container grown plants while the soil is warming up nicely and is still moist underneath despite this year’s dry March. If you haven’t already planted a tree for the Queen’s Jubilee this is the month to do it so that it can make some root before the warmer, drier months. April is also the month to start sowing seeds both inside and outside in the ornamental and vegetable beds. This should all keep you out of trouble for the month but do also try to pace yourselves and take time to enjoy the garden and all it has to offer.

Next month I will be looking at the Aberglasney garden for the final one of our visits over the last twelve months. Also in May we are planning to restart the monthly Saturday morning gardening talks at the Old Railway Line. I will, of course, give details of this in the May blog but it would also be a good idea to have a look at their website from time to time to see details of our plans and to see what is coming up in terms of gardening events in general. Until then keep well and enjoy your April gardening.


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