As August ended we sailed back along the coast past Cornwall and Devon, then across Lyme Bay to Dorset and there was a distinct chill in the air. When we returned to our Somerset garden all the exuberance of late summer was fading and autumn was squaring its shoulders ready to take the baton and run. Apples had ripened and reddened, seed pods were forming in the cutting patch and spiders were weaving webs across archways and paths to catch unsuspecting insects and people passing by.

September always feels like a fresh start to me, a time for new notebooks and plans. I grabbed my camera and dragged my family off to visit two of my favourite places so I could see what was working well and which plants I needed on my list to ensure flowers in the autumn garden next year.

There were lots of dahlias in the walled garden at Stourhead which both I and the bees loved. The colours in this Bishop of Llandaff are just astonishing – the contrast between the dark foliage and the ‘look at me, look at me?’ flower head is perfect. I haven’t grown these for a number of years but they are top of my list now!


Bishop of LLandaff Dahlia - flowers in the autumn garden

Not so showy but just as beautiful and incredibly intricate was this ball or pom pom dahlia (I think it may be ‘Ken’s Choice’ but I’m not sure – if you know do tell me in the comments!)

Ball Dahlia, Pom Pom Dahlia, flowers in the autumn garden

I loved the raindrops, sliding down the petals of these sumptuous tiger lilies.

The many buds still to unfold promised a few more weeks of this deep pink cosmos.

I’ve never had much success with echinacea but this one inspires me to have another go!

Meanwhile the gardens at Lacock Abbey were also showing off their late summer/early autumn blooms and I came away with more ideas for flowers in my autumn garden next year!

I’m a keen wildlife gardener and Lacock’s dahlias, like Stourhead’s, were covered in bees.This star dahlia, like the Bishop of Llandaff, was covered in busy buzzers gathering nectar ahead of the coming chill – I definitely need some of these in my borders!

star dahlia

Autumn flowering camellias keep on going right into October and this one with its huge soup bowl flowers was absolutely beautiful framing a doorway in the Abbey courtyard. My current garden isn’t big enough for this beauty but we are planning a major house move (and lifestyle change) in three years time – I’d love to have somewhere this would grow!

autumn flowering camellia

Shrubs and grasses offer fabulous autumn colour too, I fell in love with this frothy beauty.

late summer in the garden

I’m hoping our planned move will allow for croquet on the lawn – in jeans and converse!

croquet on the lawn

Our plan is to move closer to the coast – possibly Devon, maybe Cornwall (I am very taken with Falmouth after our recent visit – post to follow) and we all have plans and dreams which I will unfold before you as the months move on. One of his requirements is that, whatever we decide upon, it must have a large tree. A tree which will be happy to accommodate a boy and a rope swing.

rope swing


What are your plans this autumn as the new school year begins? 

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