High summer in the garden is about enjoying the outdoors, but on the way through the glasshouses visit Senna corymbosa (1) with its rich yellow flowers and medicinal links. Continue through the double doors onto the terrace. Turn right past the bedding, tropical and cacti displays and left again past the parrots walking down into the Alpine yard where the blue flowers of Echinops ritro (the globe thistle) (2) dominate the centre of the limestone rock garden.
Continue down the slope and walk out onto the large lower lawn. Under the cedar is a bed containing the rich velvety red flowers of Lobelia tupa (3) all the way from South America. Walk along the front of the Herbaceous border with its good displays of Clematis and anemones, besides the steps in the middle of the border are stands of Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’ (4) with their multi purpose colourful, scented and insect attracting flowers. From here either walk up the steps back to the edge of the main lawn, or proceed to the end of the border and exit the lawn by the fountain and turn left walking back up hill for 30 metres to see Belamcanda chinensis (5) an unusual yellow flowered iris relative in the Chinese Pinetum bed.
From here walk down to the fountain area and turn right down the slope and left at the foot of the slope onto the long straight Cameron Way, there will be something to see on the scree bed beside the rock garden, but don’t forget to look towards the tennis courts, beside which is a patch of Eucomis comosa (6) with its pineapple-shaped flower spike – a most unusual but hardy bulb. Don’t miss the vegetable amphitheatre on the right at the foot of Cameron walk behind the willow screen before you turn left past the nursery gates and then right again into the grass and trials gardens. There is a wealth of late summer flower power in this are including dahlias, Echinacea and Monada ‘Beauty of Cobham’ (7) well-named with its profusion of long-lasting pink mint-like flowers.
You could then measure your height next to the sunflowers in the Growing schools garden in the far corner of the site before returning up Wilson walk towards the fountain. On your right is a large shrub with white flowers like candles on tiered branches. This is one of the American buckeyes, Aesculus parviflora (8), which is a little planted but very useful late summer flowering large shrub. Other gems in the area include the white-flowered oak-leaved hydrangea, Eucryphia glutinosa and the Indian bean tree Catalpa bignonioides. At the fountain turn sharp right and walk up alongside the main lawn, from here you will be looking down onto the American bank for a better view of several of these plants.
Don’t miss the fuchsias and roses around the Lawn Aviary on te way back to the terrace for a well earned cup of tea and cake – or an ice-cream!
The guide book, tree guide and a range of interpretation sheets can be viewed in the front entrance and are available for purchase from Reception.