Autumn in the garden at Ham House

The Statue of Bacchus in the Cherry Garden at Ham House against a backdrop of Autumn colour

As the light begins to mellow, and the air grows crisp, the warm bursts of colour and fresh floral delights make autumn the perfect time to enjoy Ham’s quiet beauty.

Stroll through the atmospheric 17th century walled garden, to discover scenery that’s transforming in colour and shape – the ideal place to escape and recharge your batteries. 

Golden hues in the Wilderness

Miles of freshly clipped high hornbeam hedge surrounding Ham House’s secluded Wilderness Garden are starting to turn golden yellow. As they drop their leaves they reveal fresh views across to the historic house. 

Weave your way through mown paths that create a maze of circular walks: look out in the many borders for the seed heads of native wild flowers. The trees are putting on a show too, with large yellow aromatic quince and plump medlars beginning to crop. Their leaves give a spectacular display. 

Then stop to put your feet up, take in the views or shelter from showers in one of the 17th century style wooden summer houses or beneath the dappled shade of the maple trees. 

Tall hornbeam hedges and field maples
Tall hornbeam hedges and field maples
Tall hornbeam hedges and field maples

Sizzling South Terrace 

Many of the plants here were grown by 17th century residents the Duke and Duchess of Lauderdale. They used plants from the mediterranean and new world, often choosing them for their extended flowering seasons just as we do today. 

As the days draw in, the formal South Terrace and nearby Vine Border are putting on a final show of colour thanks to these historic roots – with hot shades and contrasting bright yellows to catch the eye. 

Fiery crimson Canna Lilies take centre stage, along with golden yellow Rudbeckia and the last of the deep orange sunflowers. These architectural plants stand out beautifully against the house and newly clipped yew hedge. Amaranthus with their deep purples leaves echo the deepening autumn colours.   

The Cherry Garden

Tightly cut lavender balls and trimmed topiary combine with the sun's golden glow to create striking structure where once was blousy summer colour. With it, the atmosphere of this part of the garden changes too, creating a calm space to take in the view within the historic walls.

Look out too for wheelbarrows bearing aromatic bunches of cut lavender outside Ham’s Garden Room, collected by our garden team for you to take away. 

Taste the Kitchen Garden’s colourful harvest

In the Kitchen Garden there is flavour as well as colour. In the edible flower plots you can taste anise hyssop, calendula, nasturtiums and clove pinks. Scent rises from the herbs; basil, thyme and parsley.

Pumpkins and squashes ripen in the autumn sunshine. Colourful kale, parsnips, aubergines, Brussel sprouts and late potatoes will be harvested until the end of October. 

On the edges of the plots, look out for delicate lilac coloured saffron crocuses Crocus sativus, whose precious harvest is dried for use in the café and house kitchen.

Dhalias and Zinnias bring a riot of colour to the cut flower bed. They’ll be used around the house in floral displays and available to buy in our shop.

Then, take in the scenery over a bite to eat our large café which serves plenty of Ham-grown treats using produce from the garden. When you visit the garden at Ham today, you help us to care for this historic garden for tomorrow. 

The colourful autumn harvest in the historic Kitchen Garden at Ham House, Richmond
The autumn harvest in the Kitchen Garden at Ham House, Richmond
The colourful autumn harvest in the historic Kitchen Garden at Ham House, Richmond