The Gardens in Autumn

Come along to see what our 14 acres of stunning, RHS partner gardens have on offer in Summer.

Head Gardener James Cross has more details below about his work in the gardens this month:

It has been the earliest start to Autumn for many years, with many of our trees dropping leaves and changing colour as early as the middle of September. This was in part due to the very early spring but also the cold nights we had during the first half of September.

October frosts have been very rare in recent years and this has dramatically changed the Autumn task list and created just as many positives as negatives! A head gardener in the 21st Century has a very different Autumn/Winter climate to one from a generation ago. Weeding now extends to the end of November as does grass cutting, but we also have fewer worries in protecting tender plants and can leave many outside all Winter.

The flip side is that any new projects now have a smaller window as Spring and its related tasks begin much earlier. The time we have in clearing the leaves before the snowdrops appear is also much shorter than a generation ago.
October is a great time to cut any hedges that have been missed and to cut any long grass> We will be cutting the Arboretum grass and then planting some extra bulbs to brighten it up next Spring. We will also be cutting the long grass in the Quiet Garden (around the white building) and then planting three thousand Gladioli Byzantinus for next summer, as well as several thousand wild blue Geraniums to brighten the area throughout next summer. If we get some good weather we will finish the Winter Border - preparing the section against the wall, ready to plant in the Spring. Spring planting still produces the best results as fewer plants are lost.
Make the most of any dry October days because although we are unlikely to have any cold weather we will almost certaintly have some very wet ones!

James Cross
Head Gardener


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