Episode 13: Angelsey Abbey Winter Garden & Gardening Jobs for April
Interview with Angelsey Abbey's Head Gardener, Richard Todd about their winter garden, our plant of the month; Fritillaria meleagris, perfect pairing (2 plants that go well together); Epimedium × perralchicum 'Frohnleiten' and Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare' and jobs to do in the garden for April.
In this month’s edition of the podcast we talk to Richard Todd, Head Gardener at the National Trust's Angelsey Abbey in Cambridgeshire, about the ins and outs of planting and maintaining their spectacular winter garden. We also look at seasonal gardening jobs to do in the garden during the month of April and a selection of plants that look good at this time of year.
Interview with Angelsey Abbey's Head Gardener, Richard Todd - 5' 54"
We talk to Richard Todd, Head Gardener for Angelsey Abbey, about planting and maintaining a unique winter garden and what's involved.
Plant of the Month - 19' 35"
Our plant of the month for April is Fritillaria meleagris - Snake’s head Fritillary.
- Height 30cm, spread 5cm
- Hardy bulbous plant, likes full sun or partial shade
- Average growth
- Fertile, well drained, humus-rich moisture-retentive soil
- Flowers from April to May, purple and white, snake-skin like markings
- Long, thin grey/green leaves
- RHS Award of Garden Merit
Perfect Pairing - 21' 39"
For the month of April we've picked two plants that compliment each other:
- Slow growing, hardy, evergreen perennial
- 40cm tall, 60cm spread
- Partial shade, moist, well-drained humus-rich soil
- Flowers: star-shaped yellow, April to May
- Leaves: heart-shaped
- Semi-evergreen, average growing, hardy perennial
- 30cm tall, 40cm spread
- Partial shade, humus-rich, moist, well-drained, soil
- Flowers: small clusters of violet blue, March to May
- Leaves: pointed, silvery mottled, green
- Good ground cover, particularly for a shady spot
Jobs in the Garden - 26' 56"
- Cut back Penstemons and Hardy Fuchsias
- Mulch borders and flower beds: prevents soil moisture evaporation & slows down weed growth if sterile
- Lawn Care: mowing once a week, scarify, weed & feed – read our book
- Herbaceous perennials: split congested clumps
- Feed roses with specialist rose food
- Dead-head early flowering bulbs
- Keep an eye on night time temperatures and protect the flowers of fruit trees when frost is forecast using horticultural fleece.
- Prune Forsythia and early flowering shrubs as soon as they have finished flowering
- Plant out half-hardy or tender summer bulbs e.g. Dahlias, Gladioli.
- Sow hardy annuals e.g. Clarkia in the border
- Plant evergreen trees and shrubs and container grown plants
In the Vegetable Garden - 31' 18"
- Young aubergine plants can be moved to a cold frame this month for hardening off.
- Start off in the greenhouse or on a windowsill: Runner beans, Tomatoes, Marrows, Courgettes, Cucumbers, Melons, Pumpkins, Sweetcorn (these can also be sown direct outside this month if you keep an eye on night-time temperatures)
- Plant out without the need to protect from frost: Early and main-crop potato varieties, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Globe artichokes, one-year old Asparagus crowns, Peas, Carrots, French beans, Onions (seeds and sets)
Plants of Note - 33' 24"
Another two plants that we felt were worthy of note for this month are:
- Hardy, slow growing, evergreen shrub
- 2.5m tall, 2m spread
- Full sun or partial shade, moist, well-drained soil, ericaceous
- Flowers: deep pink, March to May
- Leaves: Glossy, dark green
- RHS Award of Garden Merit
- RHS Perfect for Pollinators
- Slow to average growing, hardy, deciduous perennial
- 40cm tall, 45cm spread
- Full sun or partial shade, moist, well-drained soil
- Flowers: light blue/white, April to May
- Leaves: ferny mid-green edged in cream and flushed with pink during spring
Listener's Questions - 38' 40"
Terry Essling - "Hi, my window box planters are planted up with winter flowering pansies, but they are getting eaten away by woodlice. I have tried a chemical treatment previously but doesn’t seem to stop them, any ideas please?"
Forthcoming Garden and Flower Shows - 43' 01"
- 11 - 12 Apr: RHS London Orchid Show & RHS Botanical Art Show
- 11 - 13 Apr: RHS Spring Flower Show Cardiff 2014
- 24 - 27 Apr: Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2014
- 27 Apr: RHS London Alpine Garden Show 2014
Podcast produced by Richard Farrar.