Gardens to visit in September
Recommended places to see seasonal plants at their best
Tom Brown, head gardener at Gravetye Manor in West Sussex, picks the places to go to see the best of September's flowers. Read our feature on the favourite September blooms. Always check the website of the gardens below before you travel, to make sure they are open to visitors. For more inspiration, why not read our piece on the best English gardens to visit.
Perch Hill Farm, East Sussex
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. The garden is open 1, 2, 8, 9 14, 15 and 16 September.
Willingford Lane, Brightling, Burwash, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5HP. Tel 01424 838005, sarahraven.com
Sussex Prairie Garden, West Sussex
The fascinating project that is Sussex Prairie Garden first opened to the public in 2009, after Paul and Pauline McBride returned to their family farm following years working as garden designers in Luxembourg.
Having planned and created gardens in Europe, they wanted to plant their own dream garden. The initial planting established 35,000 plants over an eight-acre site. The work required for this first stage was massive but luckily the couple had the support of 40 friends and family who got stuck in to help.
The majority of these plants were large groupings of herbaceous perennials in stunning combinations, within enormous beds based on the shape of a spiralling nautilus shell. Between the beds are broad grass walks while smaller bark-chip paths take you inside the borders, encouraging you to immerse yourself in the planting.
The hard work has paid off and the plantings are glorious, on an impressive scale. The use of contrast, harmony and proportion is inspirational with such exciting plant selections. This is a garden to showcase herbaceous perennials at their most impressive.
Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, Henfield, West Sussex BN5 9AT. Tel 01273 495902, sussexprairies.co.uk
Coughton Court, Warwickshire
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
De Wiersse, Netherlands
There are many things for plant lovers to enjoy in the Netherlands’ eastern province of Gelderland, but the beautiful garden at De Wiersse truly is a hidden gem to discover.
One of he remarkable things about this garden is that it has been managed by the same family since 1678, resulting in a landscape that has subtly developed over the generations.
Much of the structure for this romantic garden dates from 1913 when the very talented, 17-year-old Alice de Stuers designed and planted the rose garden. She went on to build and plant a sunken garden as well as a kitchen garden.
In 1918 she married the Irishman WE Gatacer (Ted to his friends), who had been a prisoner of war in the Netherlands during the First World War. Their marriage brought a new influence to De Wierssie and as soon as the war ended, the couple set about creating an Irish-influenced wild garden, surrounding the moated Dutch Manor.
Meadows contrasting with clipped topiary, and exotic woodland plantings charm you under the shade of majestic oaks. Sometimes the garden engulfs you and then opens out to beautiful vistas with Dutch cattle grazing in the distance.
The care of this beautiful garden was passed on from Alice and Ted to their son Peter and his wife Laura, who from 1978 continued to plant bulbs, trees and woodland plants giving us the masterpiece we see today. Laura continues to garden every day but her daughter Mary has now taken on the management of the estate.
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Wiersserallee 9, 7251 LH Vorden, the Netherlands. Tel +31 (0)575 723 086, dewiersse.com
Kwekerij De Hessenhof
Not far from De Wierssie, Kwekerij De Hessenhof is one of the most remarkable nurseries in Europe. An amazing collection of perennial plants assembled by growing conditions and grown to perfection by Hans and Miranda Kramer.
The nursery is open Thursday to Saturday, 9am-5pm.