Long-lasting colour in Charlecote's autumn gardens

Visitors walk past long border in garden at Charlecote in autumn

Take a stroll around Charlecote's gardens and find inspiration for late interest in your own garden or just take a seat and enjoy autumn's final burst of colour.

While you enjoy the gardens that Mary Elizabeth Lucy loved so dearly in Victorian times you’ll find our gardeners – staff and volunteers – at work all year round, whatever the weather. They’ll tell you more if you want to chat, or just take a seat and enjoy the results of all their hard work.

Stop and chat to our volunteers - they might even get you to help out!
Charlecote children with garden volunteer in autumn parterre
Stop and chat to our volunteers - they might even get you to help out!

In autumn you’ll find us weeding most days (of course!), perched on a cherry picker to prune the yew trees and wisteria in Green Court, clearing the parterre and planting out all the spring bedding, as well as tidying lots and lots of fallen leaves as the season progresses.

It looks a little tatty, but we’re leaving a lot of the dead seedheads on the plants in the borders – birds such as goldfinches will love the seeds, and blue tits will find insects hiding in the little crevices.

Liriope muscari brings a welcome splash of colour to the long border when nearly everything else has faded
Liriope muscari flowers in long border at Charlecote Park in autumn and winter
Liriope muscari brings a welcome splash of colour to the long border when nearly everything else has faded

Continuing colour

While autumn foliage brings beautiful colours to the park and gardens, there are more subtle delights in two of our favourite plants – late-flowering clematis on tricky north walls. There’s starry Clematis jouiniana and the delicate yellow bells of Clematis rehderiana. Their delicate flowers make them easy to miss, but the bees always find them.

Pretty yellow bells of Clematis rehderiana in Green Court are among our autumn delights
Clematis rehderiana in Green Court at Charlecote Park in autumn
Pretty yellow bells of Clematis rehderiana in Green Court are among our autumn delights

Along the long border, Tetrapanax rex makes a bold statement with its huge leaves – our very own T Rex – and yellow rudbeckia, blue monkshood and delightful dahlias and cosmos take colour and interest through to the end of October.

Take a closer look at Abelia grandiflora as you pass through the gates in Green Court
Abelia grandiflora is one of the star plants at Charlecote as autumn goes into winter
Take a closer look at Abelia grandiflora as you pass through the gates in Green Court

Shady informality

Now known as the woodland garden, Mary Elizabeth’s Wilderness flourishes beyond the long border. Her Victorian visitors – like our visitors today - would have been entranced by rare and unusual shade-loving plants and ferns in this tranquil haven. Autumn brings intense foliage colour to this part of the garden and the delightful scent of mahonia drifts through the pathways.

Autumn colour in the woodland garden from the euonymus (Spindleberry)
Spindleberry - euonymus - autumn foliage colour in woodland at Charlecote
Autumn colour in the woodland garden from the euonymus (Spindleberry)

Victorian influences

Mary Elizabeth’s presence still influences the gardens. Her formal riverside parterre was carefully reinstated twenty years ago and twice a year our gardeners skilfully co-ordinate a new planting plan and organise the back-breaking planting of thousands of bedding plants.

Matt and the team have planned a glorious scheme for next spring based on bedding such as scented wallflowers and pretty violas. They've been potting on 7280 plug plants - pop back next year to see the display.

Intense Coleus 'Campfire' has been one of the stars of our pot displays this year
Charlecote autumn pots of silver and orange plants
Intense Coleus 'Campfire' has been one of the stars of our pot displays this year

Historic playhouse

The Orangery tea-room once housed fashionable Victorian ornamental exotics, and the little thatched summerhouse next to the Orangery has undergone restoration work, funded partly by the proceeds of raffle tickets bought by our kind visitors in previous years.

Mary Elizabeth had the summerhouse built for her grandchildren and it was based on one that she remembered from her childhood in Wales. It's too fragile to open regularly to visitors but our volunteer photographer shows you more here...

Modern formality

You can see how the Lucy family influence still prevails in the gardens today with the topiary in Green Court. The present baronet, Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy created the formal design based on 3-dimensional mathematical relationships between the house, the gatehouse and this lawned forecourt.

Exotic-looking pink nerines defy cooler days and light up a corner of Green Court
Pink nerines in flower in green court at Charlecote Park
Exotic-looking pink nerines defy cooler days and light up a corner of Green Court

Apples and pears ripen on pleached fruit trees throughout autumn and look out for the exotic but hardy sugar-pink nerines flowering at the base of the wall as autumn fades to winter.

Visitors with wheelchair in garden at Charlecote for access

Access for all 

Find out more about accessibility for all our visitors.