What to look for in September

Outdoor Gardens

Throughout September, as the drama and excitement of high summer mellows into a fruitful autumn, our wonderful collection of dahlias shows no signs of fading.

Across site, the crop gardens are at their productive best, with vibrant displays of vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and grains from around the world. Other floral highlights include brilliant rudbeckias in our Pollination area, stately Crinum x poweli ‘Album’ in the White Border and Desfontainia spinose near the Core, with its lovely yellow tipped scarlet flowers.

While exploring the outer estate this month, you may get lucky and catch a glimpse of one of our team using a scythe in the wildflower meadows – the traditional and environmentally-friendly way of managing these precious habitats. 

Learn how to create your own wildflower meadow.

Rainforest Biome

Way up in the tree-tops, work begins this month on phase two of the canopy walkway which will provide a thrilling and exhilarating insight into the role of the rainforest in controlling our climate. Meanwhile, on the forest floor, many of our beautiful gingers are in flower. Look out for Curcuma longa, commonly known as turmeric, Curcuma colorata, Globba winitii, Alpinia purpurata and Zingiber zerumbet. In the Home Garden, you'll find new varieties of landrace veg from Cambodia and Laos.

Mediterranean Biome

A spicy crop of red hot chilli peppers provides heat and colour this month, with some exciting new varieties on show. Look out for ‘Spaghetti’, with its impressively long fruits and wrinkled skin, or ‘Mulato Isleno’, a poblano type chilli, indispensable in Mexican cooking. We also have 14 varieties of aubergine on display. 

The Roman Garden is still looking glorious, and the beautiful Amaryllis belladonna, is flowering in South Africa. These flowers are also known as 'naked ladies', due to their leafless stems and elegant blooms. 

What to look out for in the coming months

Outdoor Gardens

In November, shades of burnished gold, rich russets and purples creep across the landscape. Don’t miss Liquidambar styraciflua or sweet gum – a gorgeous tree with star-shaped leaves and stunning autumn colour. 

December welcomes fiery hues of Cornus alba and Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’ dominate the landscape, and Cotoneaster frigidus ‘Cornubia’ is laden with berries. 

Enjoy the scents of winter in January, provided by Hammamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’.

Rainforest Biome

Native to the rainforests of South America, the cocoa trees are heavily laden with ripening pods in November. Most of our cocoa today is grown by small farmers in West Africa.

In December, the Coffea arabica will be fruiting heavily, with its bright red berries looking very festive. Arabica coffee dominates the world market, and is widely regarded as producing the highest quality beans.

Enjoy the flowers of Solandra maxima and the red powder-puff plant, Calliandra haematocephala, that adorn the rainforest in January, along with the purple Crinum beside the lily pool. 

Mediterranean Biome

The grape vines are ablaze with autumn colour in November, and sweetly scented blossom adorns the loquat trees, Eriobotrya japonica, with the promise of succulent, golden fruits to come.

Festive displays of vibrant Cyclamen are set to brighten even the darkest December days, and in the Med Café, colourful garlands of dried chilli peppers and Chinese lanterns provide the perfect backdrop for seasonal activities and story-telling.

Magnificent red and gold candelabra-shaped flowers of Aloe ferox, will herald in the New Year in South Africa.