Winter weekends in the garden

Visitors walking away from the Rill Garden in Coleton Fishacre in autumn

As autumn fades into winter, the colours in the garden vary from vivid to mellow. Autumn leaves fall from trees such as the tulip tree (liriodendron), and katsura tree (cercidiphyllum), and the sea views are at their best. Plants and shrubs aren't to be outdone at this time of year either; there's plenty in flower still to see.

Late autumn colour

Some of the best trees see vibrant colour on are maples, witch-hazel and swamp cypress. A real highlight is the tulip tree (liriodendron) opposite the house; the leaves go a buttery yellow. Correa, tecoma, euryops, amaryllis and nerine are flowering throughout the garden, together with late flowers on the salvias and cannas.


Winter work in the garden

Some of the most important work going on at this time of year is:

  • Turf work – the team scarify, spike feed and re-turf worn out areas of lawn. You may notice some of the turf paths may be closed when you visit; this is to give them the best chance to recover in time for spring.
  • Herbaceous border work – gardeners are busy cutting down, lifting, moving and dividing herbaceous plants, then digging-in or mulching with compost.
  • Tree surveys - it's important to check the health of trees before the winter storms arrive.
  • TLC - benches are taken inside to dry out before cleaning and oiling, to keep them at their best for longer. 
  • Winter gives a good opportunity to tidy up, so the team are removing and controlling bamboo clumps, removing ivy from trees, digging out brambles, and pruning.
  • Stream clearing - the team have been removing excess vegetation and overhanging branches to open the stream up and remove anything which might hinder the flow of water through the wet season. As well as keeping the stream looking its best, this minimises the risk of flooding.