katherine_rossKatherine Ross has worked as a gardener at The Dartington Hall Trust for four years. She is currently researching the history of the gardens as part of her work, and hopes to bring some of the stories and history to life in her blogs.


With the weather changing, I thought I’d use this blog to help you enjoy some of the seasonal highlights coming up in the Gardens.

Leaves of liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum or hazel pine) , found on the Great Lawn and Valley Field
Leaves of liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum or hazel pine) , found on the Great Lawn and Valley Field

I know many of you will have no trouble identifying where these are, but you can use Dartington’s illustrated Gardens Leaflet to help you if you need to. (You can get one from the Visitor Centre.)

We always enjoy your pictures of the Gardens so if you take any nice photos of the below, send them to info@dartington.org and I’ll publish them on this blog.

  1. Cyclamen hederifolium (ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread) can be found through the Gardens – look out for marshmallow pinks and whites.
  2. Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum or hazel pine) on the Great Lawn and Valley field turns scarlet and orange in the autumn.
  3. Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura or caramel tree) in the Valley Field are turning bronze and yellow, and give off a distinctive burnt sugar or candyfloss smell as the leaves fall.
  4. Asters (Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’, Helianthus ‘Lemon queen’ and Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’) look good in autumn – see Sunny Border and Tennis Court border.
  5. Sedum spectabile (ice plant ‘Brilliant’) and Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) with the purple of the Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ on the Tennis Court border look great at this time of year. It’s good news for the bees as well.
  6. Check the Outer Courtyard for edible quince (Cydonia oblonga). Last year the gardeners harvested them and gave them to the White Hart restaurant.
  7. The light in the gardens at this time of year is beautiful, a bit lower, casting glorious shadows over the terraces.
  8. In the autumn the gardeners cut the Yew hedges, Taxus baccata, so they look crisp for the winter and spring months.
  9. The wildflower areas are being cut back and material taken away in order to reduce the nutrient levels of the areas so the grass is weaker and poses a lower competition to the wild flowers next year.
  10. The cones on the cedars on the great lawn look impressive in the autumn.

I hope you enjoy the Gardens this autumn and winter – whatever the weather!





One thought on “Gardens blog: Autumn highlights to look out for

  1. Hi, I was a student at Dartington in 1981 just for a year & loved it. A friend I was with has told me that the College has really changed. I know you’re a gardener but could you update me please.
    Thank you, from Jane

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