“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”
Audrey Hepburn

This couldn’t be more true and as we prepare for a very busy Autumn, which will include cutting back, composting, bringing inside and clearing many of the plants that have given us such pleasure this Summer. It’s comforting to know that there are already promising signs of new life and a new season flourishing within, what to many peoples eyes, could appear like a ‘dying’ garden at this time of year. The Camellia buds seen here below, are a perfect example of this encouraging and welcome sight. So don’t let anyone tell you gardening is not good for the soul, as well as the body!

If you want to lift your spirits and follow the theme of colour and creativity that Autumn brings, why not join us on a wonderful day here, working with all the abundant cuttings left over from the Summer borders. There are still a few spaces left on our, Making a Natural Garland course. You will be helped to make your own individual piece, purely out of natural materials from the garden, such as seed or flower heads, berries and branches in this truly creative and original day in December. If you click on the link it will take you straight through to more information and the booking form. The day will be lead by Ben our Head Gardener and this is an example of what we made last year.

At this time of year, when the light is often so sharp and strong, it can bring out the vividness of colour in both flowers and foliage. This is when plants appear to be putting on their last spectacular show, in a ‘come and look at me’ display!

So don’t try to view a border as if it is ‘over’, some great displays of Summer may be dying back for another year but there is so much more going on, despite their demise. Therefore we are going to focus on some of the wonderful structures and textures of Autumn borders. Here you can see from the following group of photographs, what incredible variety there is, if you just take a little time to scrutinise the space in front of your eyes.

Above is Kueringeshoma palmata, with it’s smooth and swirling petals of creamy yellow flowers, off set by the frilled edges of a large ‘hearts tongue’ fern, framed by the leaves of Wisteria. Nudging up to these two beauties, in front of the window, are the wonderfully rich and glossy green leaves of both Eriobotrya japonica and Pittosporum tobira. Added to this mix is a heavy sprinkling of willowy Nicotiana langsdorffii, (not seen) which add a haze of lime green flowers, dancing in the air above. All these plants light up a north facing border. On a damp and misty morning, the effect can be quite etherial and only adds to the charm of what could be a very dull space at this time of year!

We have really enjoyed all our nicotiana this season, so many exciting varieties that are excellent value, lasting a lot longer than their delicate frames might suggest, we love their lightness of being and flashes of colour as they get caught by the breeze.

As the weather turns cooler the dahlias are giving of their last but still have life and colour too. Each season it’s fun to explore the ever expanding, growers selection. They have made a real return here in The Old Rectory Gardens and been much admired, having a habit of offsetting other more delicate flower heads, with their intense depth of colour. Our favourites have included this Dahlia ‘Verrone’s Obsidian’.

For those of you, who have visited us this year, you might have enjoyed seeing our standard Lycianthes rantonnetii, dotted around the garden in tubs and within the border. They are synonymous with the garden and inspired our logo for the garden. It is not always appreciated, that all these small trees have to be dug up and put into the polytunnels over the winter. As we write this is being done in earnest before the light frosts really set in. They are being cut back and repotted in good quality compost, along with the lovely Polygala now with a spread of at least 4 feet wide this year…quite a challenge to repot, before we bring it out in the Spring! First to go inside however were our two large Tibouchina urvilleana.


These two South American princesses, are just in the middle of producing their hot and intense purple flowers, so a visit to the greenhouse is the only way to appreciate them now!

Looking ahead to next year, we are planning to bring back our favourite restaurant Nest to The Old Rectory Gardens for some more of their delicious and original food, cooked straight from our Potager, so watch this space!

To conclude, why not follow the wise words of Audrey Hepburn and believe in tomorrow….happy Autumn planning and purchasing, for all your own gardening plans for 2019. In the meantime, don’t forget to put your garden to bed and in our next Blog we will be focusing on just that, including advice on keeping Salvias in the ground over winter, splitting pot bound Agapanthus as well as other winter jobs around the garden!

If you would like to be the first to know about any pop-ups this winter and our 2019 events and openings in the Garden why not become a friend of the garden to be first to receive this information by signing up on our homepage .