Posted 19th Sep 2017
Situated atop Canford Cliffs in Poole, Compton Acres is one of the UK’s finest privately owned historic gardens. As summer wanes, a variety of plants brighten up the gardens with attractive flares of spectacular Autumn colour. Providing inspiration to home gardeners, Mary Payne MBE gives advice on how to recreate some of Compton Acres’ Autumn magic at home.
"As temperatures and light levels lower the beginning of leaf fall is triggered in deciduous plants. The green pigment in the leaf starts to break down revealing yellow or orange pigments. Sugars trapped in the leaves are also sometimes converted into striking red pigments, providing gorgeous autumnal tints. At Compton Acres, mature Maples, Beech and Cherry trees, all come alive with a mix of bright yellow, red and orange foliage, creating a truly magical display for visitors to enjoy."
Enhancing Seasonal Colour
"For a home garden, there are many ways for you to also add attractive autumnal scenery and maintain colour throughout the season. One of the joys of our temperate climate is the range of plants which we can be grown for Autumn interest. Slow growing Dwarf Japanese Maple trees, Acer palmatum, can be grown in home gardens and will suit large containers. These do best in sheltered positions set in partial shade. Planted now, you will be able to enjoy their bright red foliage through fall."
"At home, you can retain colour in Autumn using striking “late bloomers”. I recommend New England Asters, Aster noviae-angliae varieties. These are hardy and produce lovely pink, purple, blue or white flowers. The vibrant colours of Dahlias will also keep blooming until the first frost. To complete a display, I suggest combining these with the grassy foliage of Liriope muscari which sprouts beautiful stems of purple flowers.’’
Extended Seasonal Interest
"For longer seasonal colour, I recommend planting out the hardy Cyclamen Hederifolium. These provide an attractive carpet of mottled foliage topped with delicate flowers through late Autumn and Winter. These will suit almost any garden and do well when planted in pots or in shady areas. At Compton Acres, we’ve also made good use of a new variety of evergreen Fatsia Japonica, 'Spider's Web'. This plant is truly magnificent in Autumn and Winter with its large palmate leaves, that are heavily mottled with white. This is suitable for planting in a home garden but will require generous space."
"During the Autumn, take the time to explore Compton Acres and discover many beautiful and rare plants bursting with colour throughout Autumn. Made up of five distinct gardens, Compton Acres is laid out in a circular pattern so one may discover the Italian, Wooded Valley, Rock and Water, Japanese and Heather Gardens in turn. Compton Acres is also home to an adjoining Café and Tearooms, Gift shop and Plant Centre featuring many beautiful additions to an Autumn garden."
To find out more about Compton Acres, visit: www.comptonacres.co.uk.