The Autumn Garden is a compartmental walled garden on the site of the old Croquet Lawn. The wall was erected in the mid 1990s to give more protection for some of the shrubs which are of interest such as the sweet smelling Clerodendron trichotomum var. fargesii (the foliage doesn’t smell so good).
Two interesting but very spiky plants are Colletia armata ‘Rosea’,(the original specimen died and a plant propagated from this has been planted) and Poncirus trifoliata (Japanese Bitter Orange) with small sweet scented white flowers producing globular fruits like miniature oranges and thorns up to 50mm in length.
More unusual Hydrangea grown in the Autumn Garden include:
Hydrangea quercifolia – a medium sized white flowered shrub with oak shaped (Quercus) leaves which have good autumn colours.
Hydrangea aspera Villosa Group – a large shrub with enormous leaves producing showy heads of pale blue flowers with a ring of lilac/pink florets.
Hydrangea aspera var. sargentiana – large shrub with shoots thickly clothed in a curious moss-like covering of hairs and bristles. Its leaves are very large and velvety and the flowers are made up of blue and white inflorescences.
The garden showcases many late summer flowering herbaceous Salvias in a wide range of colours and heights including our own Salvia microphylla ‘Newby Hall’ the distinct Salvia discolour with its silvery grey foliage with almost black flowers and pure blue Salvia patens which can be grown from seed. There is a range of some 40 Salvias grown in the Autumn Garden. Some of the best include Salvia microphylla ‘Royal Bumble’, S. ‘Indigo Spires’, S. ‘Nachtvlinder’, S.’Amistad’ & S.’Dyson’s Crimson.
Dahlias are carefully selected annually to give an exuberant colourful display of varying heights and forms of flower with exotic purples, radiant reds, blousy pinks, moody maroons and many more. They form the backbone of the planting which is done on an annual basis with some 800 or so plants all grown in house – as a consequence the Autumn Garden is never the same from year to year.
Other late-flowering herbaceous plants are grown with a view to attract bees/hoverflies/butterflies. These include varieties of Sedum, Echinacea and Phlox. Verbena bonariensis has a very good light and airy effect when grown with other more dense plants. The feast of flowers develops in August and continues through late summer until the first hard frosts of in October.