With autumn approaching many leaves and berries change colour throughout the month and the garden progresses into a very colourful period. This is the time of year to stop and look up to see the foliage, berries and cones. Look out anywhere for RED SQUIRRELS but especially around the feeders at No 5 at the first Redwood (Sequoiadendron  giganteum).





As you begin your walk round the garden especially near the top you will see green 2 to 2.5m high stalks with fig-like seed heads. These are the unripe seed stalks of the Giant Himalayan Lily, Cardiocrinum giganteum which flowered in late June. They remain a structural feature in the garden throughout the year and the seed heads begin to open dispersing their seed in January. You should also see last year’s woody stalks with Venus fly-trap like seed heads at the top. As September progresses, around the garden you will see a variety of different colours of Colchicum or Naked Lilies (incorrectly named Autumn Crocus!). Look out for the double-flowered ‘Waterlily’ and the white Colchicum speciosum ‘Album’. Delicate pink or white Cyclamen can be found ‘hidden’ under the trees in various spots as long as voles and mice don’t find them first!



There is a fine example of the very beautiful Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ the Golden Acer at the gate as you enter the garden which is one of the first Japanese maples to change into autumn colour but drops its leaves as soon as there is a frost. Many other Acers particularly those close to the house and on the lawn will begin to colour early in the month. Throughout the garden the beautiful red bark of Prunus serrula tibetica Tibetan Cherry is unmistakable. Look out for the shaggy parent tree at No 10. The pale green leaves of the Aralia chinensis or Devil’s Walking Stick are some of the first to change to bright yellow and orange and very strangely, once the leaves drop, the plant flowers at the top of the stick. Large clumps of Aralia can be seen around the edges of the lawn. Enkianthus and Euonymus are two groups of shrubs with striking red, orange or yellow leaves as autumn progresses. Particularly interesting are the different types of ‘lantern’ seed heads found on all the species of Euonymus (Spindle). As they ripen, they open to reveal colourful seeds surprisingly much-loved food for Robins. You may well smell a lovely sweet aroma around number 11 where to the left is a very large and wide Cercidiphyllum japonicum the Katsura Tree (from China & Japan). It’s ovate to rounded leaves turn orange and yellow in autumn. In Germany this tree is aptly named THE PUDDING TREE due to the fallen leaves smelling of burnt sugar or even popcorn! There are other examples of this tree species in the garden. You may not see them but you may catch their scent. Autumn in the garden has an aroma all of its own.



The magnificent scarlet creeper crawling over and up many trees and shrubs in the garden is Tropaeolum speciosum, the ‘Flame creeper’ from Chile. During September it has some remaining red flowers and the blue berries on the same plant. This species grows from tubers and is herbaceous, dying back in the winter, growing from May onwards. Several Clematis flower at this time of year. A climbing Aconitum A. Hemsleyanium, climbs up a couple of tall sticks at No 12 as well as on the magnolia at the entrance gate and flowers in early September.



For the birds, it is a good year for Sorbus, Cotoneaster, Hips, & Berberis berries. There are many different species of rowans (Sorbus) with white, pink, red or orange berries. At No. 4 look to your right and you will see 3 different species of rowan with different coloured berries.There are variously shaped and coloured rose hips throughout; some will be eaten by the squirrels! Early in the month, the impressive stems of very bright orange or red berries coming straight out of the ground belong to various species of Arisaemas or “Cobra Lilies”. Wasps will feed on the seeds and distribute them in the garden.



Many insects love the tall, invasive late-flowering perennial Sinacalia tangutica (Chinese Groundsel) with panicles of yellow flowers. There is a clump near the Sequoiadendron at No 5 seen behind the sign. The white Anemone japonica is established in various areas with a particularly large clump at the very bottom of the garden. This plant enjoys full sun and flowers well into October. Another late flowering plant established throughout the garden is the elegant Japanese Kirengeshoma Palmata or Yellow Waxbells with tubular pale-yellow flowers. A large clump can be seen between numbers 19 & 20.  During early September, the European Willow Gentian Gentiana asclepiadea, a clump-forming perennial with blue (or white) flowers is found throughout. Mainly found at the top of the garden is an unnamed yellow annual ‘Busy Lizzie’ with amazing popping seed heads. Look out for the late-flowering clump-forming plant growing to 60cm Chelone obliqua with pink flowers shaped like a tortoise head and loved by bees! There are clumps at the top & bottom of the garden and the bed opposite the car park.



Please be patient and quiet when looking for Red Squirrels. They can be seen on the feeders around number 5 especially in the morning but they are present throughout and are often heard scrambling around the trees or chattering aggressively. The garden is full of birds particularly Blackbirds, Thrushes, Robins, Greenfinches, Tits, Treecreepers, House Sparrows, Nuthatch and Siskins.  Buzzards, Jays and Great Spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors. There are plenty of fungi around this year; an important natural food source for squirrels and SLUGS! Please let us know if you can name any of the fungi. Watch out for our stoat sometimes seen in the top area of the garden. The many toads & frogs are doing good work on the slugs! There are a few butterflies around particularly Speckled Woods which are one of the few butterflies increasing and expanding their range.



Weeding and mulching with our own leaf mould continues as ever. There is seed to collect, dry and clean. Early spring flowering plants are being lifted and split to be planted elsewhere or potted for sale for next year. In fact, there is never a dull moment! 



Gentiana asclepiadea
Gentiana asclepiadea
Golden maple
Acer shirasawanum