Gardens Illustrated
Ash trees at Westonbirt
© Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Gardens to visit in November

Published: November 4, 2021 at 9:50 am

Head gardener Tom Brown recommends the gardens to visit the month of November to see seasonal plants at their best

Old Court Nurseries

Established by Ernest Ballard in 1906, Old Court Nurseries from its inception has specialised in breeding new strains of asters. Percy Picton arrived in 1947 to assist Ballard eventually taking over the business. Today Percy’s son Paul runs the nursery, and attached Picton Garden, with his wife Meriel and daughter Helen. It still offers a huge diversity of asters available both to buy and see in a garden setting with other perennials and shrubs. Visit and you’re sure to come
back with a great range of plants. Old Court Nurseries and the Picton Garden, Colwall, Malvern, Worcestershire WR13 6QE. Tel 01684 540416,


Knoll Gardens

To understand the diversity of any group of plants, you need to find a place where you come away feeling more educated and competent in the cultivation of that group. For grasses this place is Knoll Gardens in Dorset. Neil Lucas and
his team have developed a fantastic range of grasses and honed methods of cultivation so that the rest of us can more easily use them in different environments. Here in the gardens they are seamlessly associated with shrubs, trees and other perennials to great effect. Knoll Gardens, Stapehill Road, Hampreston, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7ND. Tel 01202 873931,

Inner Temple Gardens

Located close to the Thames – enjoying central London’s microclimate – the opulent herbaceous borders of the Inner Temple Garden offer an extended season where visitors can revel in their colour well into the late autumn and winter. Shrewd, successional planting gives exotic plants, annuals and late-flowering perennials centre stage in the 70m herbaceous borders, where head gardener Sean Harkin experiments with colour and innovative plant combinations. The
gardens also include a Mediterranean Garden, a magnificent avenue of plane trees and a woodland garden. The Inner Temple Gardens, London EC4Y 9AY.

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

Early November is often the best time to enjoy rich, autumn colours and one of the finest places to see this colour is Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. Home to around 2,500 species of tree from around the world, Westonbirt boasts five National Collections including Acer palmatum, comprising nearly 300 specimens. Managed by the Forestry Commission, the grounds are Grade I-listed and divided into two areas: the Old Arboretum laid out along stately avenues, and Silk Wood, with meandering paths through what is effectively a working woodland. Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS. Tel 0300 067 4890,

Westonbirt National Arboretum
Westonbirt National Arboretum © Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Howick Hall Arboretum

Howick Hall Arboretum opened in 2006 with 65 acres of trees and shrubs, which have predominantly been grown from seed. Mature beech trees dominate the landscape but the modern, exotic plantings continue to come to the fore. The pathways are mostly grass, so good footwear is essential, particularly in wet weather. And keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels. Howick Hall Gardens and Arboretum, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 3LB. Tel 01665 577285,


As head gardener at West Dean College in West Sussex, Tom Brown has an avid enthusiasm for great, garden-worthy plants. Tom is also an RHS Show Judge and Herbaceous Committee Member.


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