What to look for in October

Outdoor Gardens

October brings with it cool misty mornings, and mellow, sunlit afternoons. As shadows lengthen, the first golden leaves of autumn begin to flutter down from the trees. Many plants are preparing themselves for the winter to come, like the Katsura tree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, which releases a sweet candyfloss scent, just before losing its leaves.

At this magical time of year, the hidden gems of Eden come into their own, like Wild Cornwall, so evocative of the windswept north coast, with its stunted trees and rare native plants. There are still plenty of flowers to see in the gardens, like the lovely Anemone x hybridaHonorine Jobert’, and the veg gardens have some impressive crops on display, including huge pumpkins by Beer and Brewing.

Rainforest Biome

In the steamy depths of the rainforest, the Malaysian home garden is looking lush and productive this month, overflowing with chillies, bananas, lemon grass and star fruit, so named because distinctive ridges running the length of the fruit form a star shape in cross-section.

Mediterranean Biome

The vigorous, evergreen climber, Podranea ricasoliana, shows off its large bunches of fragrant, lilac-pink, trumpet-shaped flowers this month. It is a great favourite among South African gardeners as well as visitors to the biome.

If you missed them last month, the red hot chilli peppers are still turning up the heat in the centre of the biome, with some real curiosities on display this year. 

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. 

Fiery hot chilli plants and ice cool winter Cyclamen provide anunexpected added dimension to the Med Biome this winter. Coaxed into winter flowering and fruiting (when many plants are taking their well earned winter rest) these displays are sure to be a delight to all the senses.

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