Autumn Colour at Waterperry Gardens

Orange autumn leaves of Aesculus hybridus at Waterperry Gardens, near Wheatley, Oxfordshire
© Karen Andrews

A wander around Waterperry Gardens teaches a master class in how to extend a garden’s colour to the year’s end. The formidable Beatrix Havergal may no longer be around, but the legacy of her horticultural school and gardens live on. Miranda’s and the long herbaceous borders may be the most famous, yet there are many other colourful tips to pick up throughout Waterperry Gardens.

Many visitors were attracted to a bright yellow, star performer in Seb’s Garden and Rock Garden. Such a bright daffodil yellow is normally associated with spring. Was it a crocus?

Seb’s Garden and Rock Garden at Waterperry © Karen Andrews

Waterperry labels its plants well, so we all discovered Sternbergia lutea. It has a host of common names reflecting visitors’ confusion on its identity: Winter Daffodil, Autumn Daffodil, Fall Daffodil, Lily-of-the-field and Yellow Autumn Crocus.

Sternbergia lutea, a star plant in Seb’s Rock Garden at Waterperry. © Karen Andrews

You could also find various Autumn Crocus species in the garden. Hurricane Lorenzo seemed to have flattened most of the Autumn Crocus that I had seen earlier that week. Waterperry has selected varieties with stronger stems and grouped them together better for support.

Autumn Crocus, Colchicum speciosum group at Waterperry. © Karen Andrews
Double-flowered Autumn Crocus, Colchicum ‘Water Lily’ group contrasted against grey leaves
© Karen Andrews

A Group 3, late-flowering Clematis was particularly eye-catching for its bright yellow flowers and exuberant, silky seedheads. It grows prolifically against the Walled Garden.

Clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ grows prolifically against Waterperry’s Walled Garden
© Karen Andrews

Grasses are used to particularly good effect in borders at Waterperry. Their pale colours and movement stand out on drab and windy autumn days after summer flowers have long gone. They sparkle in autumn sunshine or on frosty mornings.

A mixture of grasses in a Waterperry Gardens’ border. © Karen Andrews

The orange autumn berries against a White Pampas Grass were particularly striking on a day that had bleached all colour out of the sky.

Orange autumn berries contrast against a feathery-white Pampas Grass. © Karen Andrews

My favourite garden room was the Formal Garden with its Tudor Knot design. It is a designated Silent Space within the gardens. I love the autumn planting of Stipa tenuissima and Sedum around the little girl’s statue. It is hard to resist running your fingers through this low feathery grass, commonly called Mexican Feather Grass.

Autumn Planting around the Nathan David’s sculpture of a ‘Girl holding the Lamp of Wisdom’
© Karen Andrews

Other plants that caught my eye at Waterperry were the following:

Kniphofia rooperi and Kniphofia caulescens looking towards Waterperry’s Arboretum
© Karen Andrews

Some beautiful roses caught my eye too. The delicate pink of Rosa ‘Bonica’ contrasted against healthy, grey-green foliage.

The beautiful delicate pink of Rosa ‘Bonica’ still flowering in October at Waterperry Gardens
© Karen Andrews

And, of course, there were beautiful autumn leaves on view:

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ in its October colours. © Karen Andrews
The changing leaf colours of the ornamental Liquidambar styraciflua, Sweet Gum Tree
© Karen Andrews

I wonder how Waterperry’s Head Gardener ever has time to sit in her chair in the walled kitchen garden?

The Head Gardener’s empty seat in the walled kitchen garden at Waterperry Gardens
© Karen Andrews

Copyright Note

Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.

© Karen Andrews 2018 onwards. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Andrews and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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