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Autumn Colour

Food for the soul

Our native Dog Rose, Rosa canina, is a familiar sight in Kent’s wild hedges, offering up a multitude of bright red hips.

At the same time, red is the dominant colour from the Spindle Tree, Euonymus europaeus, which is also native. With fiercely glowing foliage and the gift of red fruits opening up with orange seeds, this late performer is hard to miss.

At this time of year, it’s very tempting to oil the loppers, clean off the shears and chop everything down in the goodwill gesture of tidying up. Before you do, however, take a few minutes to consider what those plants will do as the days get shorter and the frosts return. Many perennials, like the ornamental grasses will have seed heads that take on a new lease of life when caught by a sharp frost on a bright winters’ morning.

Other late performers like the Mahonia will be budding up for their winter display. It’s not impossible to get fragrance in a winter garden if you keep the secateurs away from the Winter Sweet, Chimonanthus praecox, with a perfume to rival many of the summer flowers.

So, whilst your garden is providing its autumnal banquet, what about a feast for the soul? Time to grab hats, gloves and car keys and head off to Kent’s arboricultural paradise, Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest Gardens. Situated in Goudhurst, Cranbrook, this really is a place for letting nature envelope you with her seasonal fireworks display.

Rare oaks and maples assail the visual senses as you tour parts of its 320 acres. Whilst hosting the worlds finest selection of conifers, Bedgebury is a ‘must see’ at this time of year, as bird enthusiasts can also view Hawfinches and Crossbills, feeding on the autumn berries. Walk through the trees and let your senses be massaged by the soul-calming glories of autumn.

Gardening is all about feeling good after all the work you’ve put in. Autumn is nature’s way of saying thank you.