Come along to see what our 14 acres of stunning, RHS partner gardens have on offer in Winter. Head Gardener James Cross has more details below about his work in the gardens this month:
The most striking thing about this October is the number of flowers that are still on display; whether summer or autumn plants. The heat has clearly had an impact, and yet another dry, warm and sunny autumn is helping to prolong this effect.
The Gardens are a riot of colour and interest due to the fantastic weather and also to our great staff and volunteers, as they are looking particularly neat and tidy.
The colour should continue, at least until the first proper frosts arrive - especially if the weather remains relatively dry. I would expect the colour to be particularly good this autumn as the trees will have more concentrated waste to get rid of (which is one reason for autumn colour) as the soil is very dry and most trees will have a very reduced water supply. Some trees require a cold snap to change colour and therefore will always turn later.
Rob is one of my longest serving gardeners and remembers that following the hot summer of 1976, many trees actually held onto their leaves until December, presumably needing to produce more food and build up a store. However, that was a very wet and mild autumn.
This October we hope to clear and split the plants in the Prairie garden and introduce some new ones to bulk that area up and improve the late summer and autumn colours.
We will continue to cut the long grass around the Gardens and carry out more lawn improvements following the hot, dry summer. I will also need to start cutting all the yew hedges!