Gardens and parks in London and the South East
See pioneering garden techniques in action at rose gardens, water gardens, winter gardens, grand parkland and more across the South East.
As long summer nights give way to cooler days, the colours in our gardens in and around the South East slide gently into warming tones. From the burgeoning dahlias and bulging pumpkins to early harvest pickings, the holidays may be over but many shrubs, climbers and herbaceous perennials aren’t ready to pack up just yet.
What to plant
It’s increasingly possible to extend the season and have pollenating flowers in our gardens all the way into the autumn. Japanese anemones, sedum varieties and Dahlias continue flowering into October in some parts of the country – just remember to plant the open flower Dahlias so that pollinating insects can access their harvest.
Autumn is a great time to think about providing more flowers for the following year. Most bulbs need to be planted in the autumn months ready to burst into flower from early spring onwards. It’s also a good idea to lift and split clumps of bulbs to avoid overcrowding and create an even bigger display.
It’s tempting to ‘tidy up’ our gardens at the end of the season. Perennials and shrubs are not as appealing to look at with dead-looking stems and brown curling leaves. However, while they might not look nice, they give shelter to insects and in some cases, eggs are laid here and larvae lie dormant, ready to hatch the following year. If you can bear it, leaving at least some of your garden wild until the spring, will provide a habitat for a whole variety of creatures.
These little garden residents are also food for the bigger visitors like hedgehogs and birds giving them sustenance through the cold winter months.
If you’re lucky enough to have room in your own garden, or access to a community space, then hedgerows are a great way of encouraging wildlife. A strip of mixed hedging, with native species such as hawthorn, dogwood, hazel and crab apple, will give local wildlife plenty to feast on over the winter months. From the hawthorn and crab apple soft fruits and berries to hazelnuts, they will get all the nutrition they need.
You might think of gardens being a spring or summer thing, but there's still plenty to see in our gardens across the South East this winter. From snowdrops at Stowe in Buckinghamshire, to aconites at Polesden Lacey in Surrey and brightly coloured dogwood at Mottisfont in Hampshire.
Leaves will be unfurling and buds will be bursting into colour in our gardens across London and the South East. From dramatic parterres and sweeping landscapes to walled gardens and orchards, you'll find gardens dotted with jewel-like cyclamens and tulips - the region will be bursting into spring.
We're hoping for waterlilies in the lakes at Sheffield Park in Sussex, and rambling roses at the world-famous rose garden at Mottisfont in Hampshire next summer. You'll be able to take in secret gardens like at Fenton House in Hampstead, London too. Here's to a summer of glorious garden colour at your local National Trust garden in the South East.