A Fabulous Finale

As the garden ventures into late October the shadows lengthen and the temperatures drop, but nonetheless the garden and its plants continue to offer an ever changing mix of bright and subtle colourations, of tactile forms and fabulous shapes that can almost overload the senses. So much is happening so fast and virtually every day has something fresh to offer.

While Panicum virgatum in the foreground (above), provides tactile yellows and oranges the fast colouring spindle trees, and background persian ironwood, offer pinks and reds in a multitude of shades and shapes.

The Dragon Garden (below), has a collection of taller grasses and perennials that provide a prairie style feel with the myriad flowers of miscanthus, calamagrostis and pampas.

The Decennium Border (below), has some fairly tall grassses such as Molinia arundinacea, Miscanthus Cindy and Flamingo along with the taller white spires of Cortaderia Sunningdale Silver, which are nonetheless dwarfed by the magnificent foliage of the spindle trees and the amazing autumn colouring vine, Vitis coignetiae.

While a bit further around the same border, which is more or less circular, the view (below), changes significantly to embrace calamagrostis, molinia, veronicastrum, sanguisorba, phlomis and euphorbia.

Misty mornings can be frequent at this season and the Gravel Garden (below), and the massed flowers of gaura, aster and abelia take on an almost ethereal quality in an early morning mist.Not to be outdone a misty morning serves to highlight the dark and dried stems of Echinacea pallida emerging from a grassy base of poa and molinia in the Dry Meadow (below).

Looking down the Long Walk (below), there is a lovely blend of woody plants, such as euonymus and koelreuteria, along with grasses such as miscanthus, pampas and panicum, that work well with the now drying leaves and stems of a tall echinops. An autumnal extravaganza of colour, shape and texture!

However looking up the Long Walk (below), the view is rather different with the same echinops and panicum seemingly being rather dwarfed by the autumn colouring trees and shrubs. The centrally placed Miscanthus giganteus will turn a wonderful warm yellow but at the moment remains resolutely bright green.

Cornus (above), are well known for their rich and warm autumnal tones and here even in some shade Cornus kousa is currently the most attractive and delicate shade of reddish orange that lights up the surrounding area. While Viburnum Lanarth (below), deservedly popular for it masses of spring time white flowers, returns for an autumnal finale with some smoky red foliage that it is difficult to better.

In the midst of all this autumnal beauty Mahonia lomariifolia (below), begins its always welcome display of fresh yellow flowers that are arranged in rather fascinating spikes; as if to remind us that the garden and its plants are ever moving towards the next season.