The combination of sunshine and rain over summer has resulted in the garden looking fresh and vibrant this autumn. On the beds outside the café some southern hemisphere plants are flowering: Grevillea victoriae (silver foliage & apricot coloured flowers) and Correa backhouseana (cream bell-shaped flowers). Strobilanthus attenuata from Nepal has purple hooded flowers and thrives in the shade.
In the picnic area at the top of Lawn Path look for Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii, a small Chinese tree with extraordinary vivid turquoise berries with maroon leaf calyxes. Close by, on the rockery is one of the most striking Red Hot Pokers, Kniphofia caulescens from high altitude mountain slopes in South Africa, with bright yellow and coral red torch-like flowerheads.
At the top of the Water Garden and down by Azolla Pool the Hedychium ‘Devon Cream’ and Hedychium gardnerianum (Ginger Lilies) have the strongest scent. Nearby, look for what appears to be yet another blue mophead Hydrangea but is in fact a rare plant from China. Dichroa febrifuga, also known as Chinese Quinine, is in flower after which dark blue berries follow.
Around the Chris Cross Ageratina ligustrinum the highly fragrant Incense Bush is still flowering, surrounded by many different cultivars of Japanese Maples which will display a wonderful spectrum of colours as the month progresses.
Throughout the garden, under the trees, are numerous Cyclamen hederifolium. Just prior to the emerging ivy-like foliage, the dainty pink reflexed flowers appear. The striking silver marked leaves persist until the soil warms up in spring.
There are various Hydrangea paniculata cultivars around the garden; the flowerheads are not rounded like the mopheads but are in a broad cone. On Petry’s Path Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ has pale lime-green flowers, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ has white fluffy flowers turning strawberry pink and Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’ has very large creamy plume-shaped flowers. Lower down the garden on Davidia Walk Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyusha’ has very showy creamy-white flowers.