Seasonal Walk: September

September is a wonderful month; the flowers of late summer reach their peak as the first signs of autumn emerge, making it one of the most colourful months in the garden. After enjoying the glasshouse plants turn right on the terrace and right again down into the alpine yard. At the lower end behind the Study Centre is a bed with fuchsias, notable is the cool ice pink of Fuchsia magellanica var. mollinae (1), which contrast with the stronger colours of the other species in the area. Walk along the West lawn and view the herbaceous border to your left, by the steps at the back of the border is the tall deep blue flowers of monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii)(2). Follow the herbaceous border to the end and exit the lawn back onto the tarmac path which leads to the fountain. From there walk past the Himalayan cedar along Wilson Walk, about 30 metres on the left is a Japanese woodland plant Kiregeshoma palmata (3) with it lantern-shaped yellow bell flowers. Retrace your steps back to the fountain and walk down the hill towards the playground. On the left as the path turns the corner into Cameron way under the magnolias is a mass of the autumn flowering Cyclamen hederifolium (4). Further along this open sunny path are plantings from South Africa of Schizostylis coccinea ‘Mollie Gould’ (5) and blue Agapanthus (6). At the far end of the path past the vegetable garden on your right turn left at the nursery gates. On the azalea bank you will see a fine display of pink and white Colchicum (7). Turn next right into the grass and trials area where the spectacular blousy blooms of the dahlias (8) and other tall daisy flowers are contrasted by the grasses which are approaching their best as the seed heads develop. Not forgetting a visit to the butterfly house and growing schools garden return to the main lawn up the hill via the grass garden.