Exploring the garden in autumn

As summer fades to autumn, the colours in the garden vary from vivid to mellow. The Hot Border is ablaze with red and orange planting, which is mirrored by the autumn leaves on trees such as acers, the Persian ironwood tree (parrotia persica) the tulip tree (liriodendron), and katsura tree (cercidiphyllum).

Rill Garden

The walled garden where the small stream (or rill) runs through the centre is certainly wowing; the mix of annuals, perennials and roses present a fragrant patchwork of pastel hues which fade away as autumn deepens. As the season progresses, the garden team will be tidying up the beds here and throughout the garden ready for winter, by cutting down herbaceous plants, dividing and moving plants, and digging borders ready for planting.


The Hot Border

At the bottom of the terraces the Hot Border is aflame with red and orange flowering plants such as salvias and ginger lilies (hedychium). This border was planted with fiery colours as it is the flower bed seen from Rupert D'Oyly Carte's room, and he loved these colours.
The hot border is filled with fiery colours
The hot border in front of the house filled with red and orange flowers
The hot border is filled with fiery colours

Wellington's Wall

The wall bordering the lawn next to the house is a south-facing raised border, filled with a selection of plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa and the west coast of America. Euryops are the autumnal stars of the show here.


The Gazebo

The Gazebo was fitted with new benches and back rests last year, all funded by money raised through raffle ticket sales. Take a seat here and soak up the views of the sea and the garden. In the nearby Gazebo Border, a great plant to look out for this season is the Madeiran lily of the valley tree (clethora arboria).
The fern glade at the bottom of the garden is a relaxed spot
Tree ferns in the garden at Coleton Fishacre
The fern glade at the bottom of the garden is a relaxed spot


Fern Glade

At the bottom of the garden there is a glade filled with ferns and tree ferns as well as hygrangeas in flower. On the way here you will have passed a steep bank on your left where amaryllis and cyclamen thrive in autumn. The Fern Glade is close to the gateway to the South West Coast Path and the Pudcombe Cove viewing platform. It's worth a detour here to see the tidal swimming pool that the D'Oyly Carte family built in the cove. 


Paddock Wood

A walk through the woodland at the top of the garden is a must at this time of year. You can crunch through fallen leaves and enjoy the views over the garden and out to sea. The garden team are working on developing areas of wild flower meadow amongst the woodland, so during autumn they will be sowing some seed of yellow rattle (Rhinonanthus minor). This annual plant is semi-parastic on grass, which weakens the grass growth, allowing a more diverse range of wild flower species to grow. The seed is sown in autumn so that it receives a prolonged period of chilling through the winter to initiate germination the following spring.