Sunday, 6 October 2013

Britain's best October gardens - where to see wonderful autumn colours in the south of England

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens at Romsey in Hampshire - open throughout the winter months
There are many signs that autumn is in the air, with low-lying mists rolling off rivers and the all-too familiar early morning visibility problems on the way to work. And some leaves are beginning to turn, although it's too early for the spectacular autumn colours that some of the gardens here are famous for. But with the change in seasons, today's entry is a round-up of some of the gardens in the south of England that are really worth visiting at this time of year. Some remain open throughout the year, but both the Exotic Garden in Norwich and Great Dixter close in the next few weeks, so try and get there if you can to catch autumn at its best. 
West Dean remains open throughout the year except for two weeks at Christmas
In Hampshire, Sir Harold Hillier left the nation a wonderful garden legacy at his former home outside Romsey (top) - now run by the council and recognised as one of the great gardens of Britain, the winter garden provides year round colour and the trees are always worth a visit when the leaves are turning, particularly the acer glade. Open daily throughout the year, except Christmas and Boxing Day, this garden gives joy throughout the winter months. The same is true of West Dean near Chichester, which only closes for two weeks at Christmas and New Year. 
John Brookes' garden - Denmans, outside Chichester is open year round
Master gardener John Brookes opens his garden - Denmans near Chichester - to the public throughout the seasons, as does Beth Chatto, whose home in Essex has become famous the world over for her shade combinations. Both gardens offer seasonal highlights, even in the depths of winter and although Beth's garden closes for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, John's remains open except Xmas, Boxing and New Year's Day. 
Beth Chatto's garden also remains open throughout the year and has spectacular autumn colour
And as it's still early in the month, you've just got time to catch some of the great exotic gardens in full bloom, including Will Giles' amazing offering in the heart of Norwich, where his one-acre sub-tropical paradise remains open for another two weekends, or the stunning autumn hues on a slightly larger scale at Great Dixter in East Sussex, where Fergus Garrett has carried on the work that Christo Lloyd began all those years ago. His exotic garden (below) looks exceptional at this time of year and remains open until 27th October (closed Mondays).
The Exotic Garden at Great Dixter - open to all until 27th October
In the next few weeks, I will be visiting some of the great autumn gardens in the West country, and heading towards Devon and Cornwall, where the kinder weather allows many gardens to flourish throughout the winter months. And later this week, I shall be celebrating John Brookes' 80th birthday here with him on the blog, so do join me.
Will Giles' Exotic Garden in Norwich remains open until 20th October - Sundays only

4 comments:

  1. What great photos you've captured. This is a great time of year for visiting gardens with the leaves turning. I must get out and about as well and do some garden vieiwing. All the best, Kelli, Northern Ireland.

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  2. Will Giles' Exotic Garden intrigues me. It does look absolutely fabulous. Of course, Beth Chatto's Garden and Great Dexter are on my one-day-must-see list.

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  3. Beautiful late summer and early fall gardens.

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  4. It is wonderful for someone who lives in a place where there is little true fall color to see the leaves changing color in those gorgeous gardens. I keep adding to my list.

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