Autumn is a great time of year to visit the Gardens. Throughout October and November you can expect to see a full spectrum of warm colours and branches bursting with fruits as nature prepares for the winter months. Our Head Gardener, Mark, shows us this season’s highlights.
Autumn crocus (Colchicum The Giant)
Now in full bloom underneath the shade of trees in the Old Manor House Garden, you can see the autumn crocus (also known as “naked ladies” due to their lack of leaves) stretching outwards in a display of delicate purple petals.
Crab apple (Malus)
Located in The Queen Mother’s Garden is a crab apple tree bursting with small fruit. Crab apples are more bitter than regular eating apples and are therefore used primarily for cooking; usually to make jellies or jams. They are also a good source of food for wildlife in autumn and early winter. There are multiple varieties of crab apple trees which can be found throughout the Gardens.
Ceanothus (California Lilacs)
Take a stroll through Sunflower Street in the National Gardening Centre and you will find Ceanothus reaching out to the path as you walk by. They flowered in early spring and the delicate blue flowers are having a second flourish of blooms this late summer/autumn.
Heptacodium miconioides Seven-son flower
Currently growing from a shrub into a small tree, find the Seven-Son Flower in the National Gardening Centre, opposite Sunflower Street. It has finished flowering and is now covered in pretty red calyxes. Resembling the honeysuckle, it is part of the same family.
The Secured by Design Garden in the National Gardening Centre is created with the security of homes and gardens in mind. Amongst thorny rose bushes blooming in summer, you will now spot bright yellow berries on the Firethorn bush. The branches are very spiky, therefore ideal in a secure garden. They are also a good habitat for birds as the thorns protect them from predators and the berries provide food for them.
If you are looking to add some bright colours to your borders in autumn then the Michaelmas Daisy is a great option. Bold purple flowers are in bloom with lots of buds still left to come out during the next few weeks. Find them spreading across the Secured by Design Garden border beds.
Bromeliad fascicularia bicolour
Opposite the Australian Garden, if you look closely between the long red and green spiky leaves, you will see unusual blue flowers deep within. Related to the pineapple, this plant is a talking point for any garden.
No visit to the Gardens in autumn would be complete without a trip to the Stables to see the Boston Ivy on the saddlery wall. Featured in our September news blog, the leaves are rapidly changing colour to a stunning deep red, providing a fantastic and natural backdrop for wedding photographs this October.
Another pretty colour to add to Gardens in the autumn is the Nerine Bowdenii. They are reaching out of the pots outside the Cactus House the Walled Garden and along the path borders. Beginning as a bulb, they are showing an umbrella of bright pink flowers, similar to lilies.
Coleus Mighty Mosaic
In pots around the Walled Garden is Mark’s favourite coleus – the mighty mosaic. With interesting and colourful leaves, they add interest to any area. The ones seen in the Walled Garden have been grown from seed by our gardener Sharon.
Katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum)
From the Historical Garden, take the path towards the Accessible Garden, next to the garden design classroom and you may be able to smell the sweet scent of the Katsura Tree, also known as Candyfloss tree. As the leaves turn colour and break down they release a compound called maltol which has a sweet smell. Maltol can also be found in breads, cakes and grains.