The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: the colours of Autumn

A wonderful day to rediscover the Beth Chatto Gardens after my femoral-nerve-induced absence: cobalt blue skies, barely a whisper of a breeze and really quite warm for mid-October….

The last blooms of summer mingled with the autumn specialities, all providing food for the numerous bumblebees and Hornets patrolling the borders.

Autumn colours though were a bit more subdued than we hoped for, no doubt because there has hardly been a sniff of a frost. After such a worryingly ridiculously hot summer we can perhaps hope for the equinoctial fires to be well stoked – but of course that is always uncertain, depending on what comes first: foliage-painting frost or leaf-stripping wind…

But one thing that can be guaranteed is the low angle of the sun, there to throw everything into relief; shadows and light, whether coloured or not, bring out the best of the garden…

And of course, the wildlife. It may be late in the season but life is still out there. All very expected, from Red Admirals and a laggard Holly Blue, to Common Darters and Willow Emeralds taking the opportunity for a meal and a mating before their world is closed down by winter. Always a poignant moment, wondering ‘will that be the last one I see this year’, never knowing until the moment has passed.

There are few better places to spend a fine autumn day…and this year it is open until mid December! Plan your visit to the Gardens (