Late summer in the garden at Mottisfont

The herbaceous borders at Mottisfont, Hampshire in September sunshine

Summer colour lingers on in the walled gardens, with some late blooms in the herbaceous borders. Look out for trout in the clear waters of the river, and hints of autumn in the gardens from the leaves starting to turn golden to the horse chestnut trees growing seeds.

Late summer borders

Two deep flower beds border two sides of the historic central pathway in our walled gardens. These gardens were chosen to house the National Collection of old-fashioned roses by Graham Stuart Thomas in the 1970s. While many of these bloom just once a year, in early summer, the herbaceous borders showcase colour until early autumn.   

The plants here were chosen for their structure, scent and wide colour palette. Agapanthus, geraniums and peonies mingle with pinks, lilies, phlox and nepeta. The centres of the borders are a mass of soft blues, pinks and whites, whilst stronger yellows, oranges and dark pinks draw your eye along the length of the border.

Meanwhile, following the full rose display of early summer, some late and repeat-flowering varieties continue to bloom.

Our gardens are looking lovely, but they won’t be quite as you’re used to seeing them. We had few gardeners in the property during lockdowns, while everyone stayed home and stayed safe.

We have a small team in now, but nowhere near what we’re used to, so the gardens aren’t perhaps as well-groomed as you might be expecting. There are some weeds and rough edges; please bear with us as we do what we can as soon as we can, and instead enjoy all the many other pleasures that our gardens have to offer.

While we weren’t able to fill the Kitchen Garden with produce as normal, there are still displays of scented herbs in red-brick raised beds. Apples are ripening on our young trees and sunflowers stand tall around the pergola.

‘Stepover’ apples have been trained on to the pergolas
A small 'stepover' (single-tiered) apple tree trained to a pergola in the Kitchen Garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire
‘Stepover’ apples have been trained on to the pergolas

Ornamental Gourds 

The ornamental gourds are growing nicely, with the unusual shapes and bright colours starting to show. The gardeners have grown some fun varities including Turk's turban, Patty Pans and a really warty variety called Marina di Chioggia. Visit the Kitchen garden to see these beautiful autumn baubles. 

Wooden pergolas are brimming with gourds and greenery
A wooden pergola walkway in Mottisfont's kitchen garden, draped with gourds and greenery
Wooden pergolas are brimming with gourds and greenery

Take a stroll on tree-lined pathways along the River Test, which runs through our grounds. Look out for brown trout as they bask in sunny spots, and ducks or swans gliding over the water's surface.