Tom Brown, head gardener at West Dean Gardens, picks the places to go to see the best of September’s flowers. Read our feature on his favourite September blooms.
Perch Hill Farm
I’m always blown away by the colour combinations and the creativity that Sarah Raven and her head gardener Josie Lewis conjure up at Perch Hill Farm. September sees a riot of summer colour with the dahlia beds taking centre stage. I get inspiration from the cutting garden and container displays; enjoying the bold use of colour and texture with their signature flair and elegance. Look out for new plant introductions that are constantly being trialled in the borders. Open 14 and 20 September. Willingford Lane, Brightling, Burwash, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5HP. Tel 01424 838005, sarahraven.com
The Salutation Hotel
Head gardener Steve Edney of The Salutation Hotel is making quite a splash in the world of flower shows as he pushes boundaries and provokes conversations with his innovative displays. If you visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, you may remember his display of seedheads, that served as a reminder not only of the beauty seedheads bring to a winter garden, but also of how beneficial they are to wildlife, and asked the question should we be so tidy? The garden at The Salutation sits around a Lutyens-designed house in the stunning location of Sandwich in Kent that is now a boutique hotel. Steve has a passion for dahlias, particularly the dark-leaved cultivars, and I love how his colourful and exotic planting envelops the building with its iconic Lutyens style and features. The Salutation, Knightrider Street, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9EW. Tel 01304 619919, the-salutation.com
Sussex Prairie Garden
Sussex Prairie Garden in West Sussex has become something of a pilgrimage for those of us who enjoy prairie-style planting at its best. Over the past ten years its owners Paul and Pauline McBride have created one of Britain’s largest prairie gardens in the stunning West Sussex countryside. Surrounded by mature oak trees, the garden is made up of large borders planted in a naturalistic style, and your eye is drawn across these mass drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses to the borrowed landscape beyond. This month the garden holds its Unusual Plant and Garden Fair on 1 September, which always attracts an eclectic mix of specialist nursery men and women. Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, Henfield, West Sussex BN5 9AT. Tel 01273 495902, sussexprairies.co.uk
A highlight of any visit to the National Trust’s Coughton Court is the vibrant summer borders. Set out as a traditional double herbaceous border, flanking a large, rectangular, mown lawn, these beds are a fiesta of late-summer colour and fun. The hot borders are reminiscent of the exotic and hot planting of Great Dixter in their use of cannas and dahlias but they are rooted in a palette of perennials and annuals that give a more traditional charm compared to those plantings that can blur the edges in terms of exotica. There is also a walled rose garden vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and plenty of stunning garden features to round off a visit to this garden, with areas of riotous and complex planting and calmer moments in between. Coughton Court, Alcester, Warwickshire B49 5JA. Tel 01789 400777, nationaltrust.org.uk