Late summer colour at Scotney Castle

As the summer months draw to a close there’s still plenty of colour to see in our garden. With the signs of autumn beginning to show in the trees and the sun sitting lower on the horizon, you can wander peacefully through tranquil gardens and countryside full of late summer colour.

As the high summer crowds disappear, the gardens at Scotney Castle are bursting with colour and fragrance in late summer. Before the trees and shrubs step forward to take centre stage over autumn and winter, take some time to enjoy the late summer colour around the garden. It's often quieter during the week so you can enjoy a tranquil walk around the garden, Walled Garden or estate, soaking up the last days of warmth from the sun.

 

Here are our top suggestions for what you should look out for in the garden when you visit.

 

Late summer colour at the Old Castle

Take a seat in the courtyard of the Old Castle and admire the late blooming flowers and fragrances that drift on the breeze. The benches here are a great place to soak up the warmth from the sun's rays and watch the world go by.

The border here is still full of colour and variety. Everything from the colourful flowers of asters, to classic roses, deeply coloured sedums that attract the bees and a variety of dahlias, verbenas, salvias and achillea. 

Please note due to conservation work at the Old Castle the island is currently closed until mid-September. 

Flowers in the Old Castle border
Scotney Castle old castle border
Flowers in the Old Castle border

Around the water's edge, the waterliles continue to flower until the first frosts strike and flag irises give bursts of yellow amongst the reeds and rushes.

The Old Castle in summer time
Scotney Castle summer garden old castle
The Old Castle in summer time

In the Walled Garden

The last of the flowers in the cut flower beds greet you as you enter the Walled Garden. Asters and dahlias growing amongst the last of the summer's roses give a really colourful display with a variety of petal shapes to admire. Cosmos dance in the breeze and sedums attract the bees.

Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle

The apple and pear trees are heavy with their fruit, just waiting to be harvested and the pumpkins and squashes swell in the sunshine ready for harvest at halloween. Take a seat on one of the benches in the herb garden and pass some time watching the gardeners at work as the sun warms your back and the fragrances waft around you.

The hop harvest at Little Scotney Farm

Join a guided tour down to Little Scotney Farm in September to see the hops being harvested ready to be sent to Westerham Brewery to be made into local ale. You'll walk across the estate to visit the hop gardens, picking shed, drying oasts and hoppers huts and hear how the hops are grown, processed and transformed into ale. You'll also get the chance to sample some at the end of the tour. This is the only hop farm within the National Trust and one of last in the county where you can see close up the harvest taking place.

Oasts at Little Scotney farm
The Oasts used for drying hops
Oasts at Little Scotney farm

Around the garden

Don’t forget to look out for fungus growing on any old trees or tree stumps, and lots of berries on our holly, yew, and especially our Kalmia shrubs – the Kalmia flowers look like iced gems but are highly toxic. Flower heads and leaves can take on architectural forms as they die back amongst the beds, especially the magnificent gunnera down by the West Glade area.

The pink flowers of Kalmia latifolia, or calico bush
Kalmia latifolia, or calico bush, at Sheffield Park, East Sussex
The pink flowers of Kalmia latifolia, or calico bush

It's a wonderful season to get out and enjoy the last few days of summer so make the most of any time you have and plan your visit to Scotney Castle.