Hot to trot?

As autumn comes to the garden, it's time to reflect on the season and plan for next year

Throughout the growing season Helen Round (Garden Manager) and Dave Squire (Team Leader) assess each part of the Formal Garden to see what has been successful and what improvements need to be made for next year. I was lucky to be able to join them for their assessment of the Hot Garden on a sunny September morning.

The Hot Garden is designed to showcase vibrant displays of colour, using an eye-catching mix of richly coloured trees, shrubs and perennials. You can view the garden from a raised platform at the entrance before descending into the garden itself.

Rudbeckia fulgida var.  sullivantii 'Goldsturm' and Sambucus nigra f.  porphyrophylla 'Eva'At this time of year the Hot Garden is really coming into its own with a stunning display of colour from perennials such as Rudbeckia and Lobelia, offset with the feathery flowerheads of grasses and the striking purplish-black foliage of shrubs such as Sambucus (elder), Berberis (barberry) and Physocarpus.

Whilst the garden is looking great at the moment, there are always things that can be improved. We have identified a number of plants that need lifting and dividing, particularly the crocosmia as this year many of them have fallen over. Dividing them next year will rejuvenate them, keep them compact and stop them collapsing again.

Not surprisingly, a number of plants suffered badly in the hot spell earlier in the year, especially those beneath the trees. For next year the soil in these areas will be improved with our own compost and we will select plants that will thrive in the challenging conditions.

Solidago gigantea and Eupatorium maculatum (Atropurpureum Group) 'Riesenschirm'Particularly enjoyable in the garden at the moment, and catching the attention of many of our visitors, are some of the late flowering perennials that are covered with bees and butterflies.  Three of these plants that really stand out to me are Eupatorium maculatum (Atropurpureum Group) 'Riesenschirm' AGM, Monarda 'Prärienacht' and Solidago gigantea.

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