Autumn in the Swiss Garden is heralded by brilliant hues of changing leaf colour, fruiting shrubs and some later flowering plants that provide interest at ground level. Highlights include Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) on East Lawn, which turns a fiery red in late autumn, contrasting beautifully with the golden leaves of the adjacent Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’. Other trees of note include the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Liquidambar and our lovely ancient Oak trees, some of which pre-date the garden and are over 200 years old.
The large leaves of Darmera peltata on Daffodil Island turn orange/red in autumn, as do the rhubarb-like leaves of Rheum, to be found in borders around the garden. Not to be forgotten in autumn are the garden’s fantastic evergreen trees, such as the Abies near the entrance to the garden, with its candelabra-like upright cones, and the lovely fallen cones of Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), near the Tree Seat.
Colourful berries can be seen on Rowan, Elderberry, Pyracantha, Holly and Skimmia and the beautiful and interesting fruit of Arbutus (Strawberry Tree) are also at their best in autumn. Also look out for the ghostly stems of Rubus tibetianus in the border opposite the Garden Room entrance and colourful Dogwood (Cornus alba) stems in the Play Area.
Flowering plants include drifts of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) on the East Lawn and the bright yellow Sternbergia lutea and pink Cyclamen hederifolium in the Rock Garden. Another autumn highlight is the variety of fungi that can be found in the garden and adjacent woodland. Toadstools and some less obvious examples are identified on our expert- led annual fungal forays.
As leaves colour and then fall, the garden’s structure and features become more visible, and some of the designed vistas much clearer. Enjoy a completely different view of the garden at this time of the year, and a warm welcome from our resident peacocks Snowy and Storm, who will be growing their next set of feathers, ready for a brilliant display next spring.
Don’t miss the Woodland Walk in Autumn either – falling leaves open up views across the lake to Shuttleworth House and the beautiful Boathouse. Take a leaf-crunching walk around the Sculpture Trail to enjoy more seasonal delights!