The Gravel Garden: As autumn progresses, the leaves of the Rhus typhina outside the Tea Room turn a brilliant orange-red before dropping, leaving the velvety, crimson seed-heads exposed on bare branches. The bead-like fruits of Callicarpa - a favourite with the Blackbirds - turn a dark, almost metallic, violet colour . Scarlet trumpets of Zauschneria californica, clumps of red/pink Sedum, mauve Verbena bonariensis, and the delicate white and pink flowers of Gaura lindheimeri, all add splashes of colour among the differing textures of glossy Bergenia leaves, straw-coloured grasses, and carpets of green thyme and silvery Lamb’s Ear.
October is a glorious month in the Water Garden: Grasses erupt into flower and add texture and movement among late flowering perennials and seed-heads. Next to the house, the Pseudolarix amabilis (Golden Larch) turns golden yellow as the days shorten and the temperature drops. Across the pond, the Taxodium distichum (Swamp Cypress) with its curious looking ‘knobbly knees’, turns a rich reddish brown, whilst a bit further away the fan-shaped leaves of Ginkgo biloba turn bright yellow.
The Reservoir Garden: Among the trees and shrubs, Crataegus x prunifolia, with its bright red fruits, and Sorbus hupehensis var. obtusa, laden with pink berries, might catch your eye. In autumn, the pink fruits of the Euonymus (Spindle tree) split open to reveal bright orange coated seeds. Keep an eye out for the metallic blue berries of Viburnum davidii, a mound-forming shrub with dark evergreen leaves..
The Wood: Colchicum, often given the misnomer ‘autumn crocus’, produce large, glossy green leaves in spring, but from September to early October drifts of their crocus-like, goblet-shaped flowers in shades of white, rosy- mauve and purple can be found throughout the garden.