Words by Vikki Rimmer
Autumn is a season that ranks highly for garden visitors in Kent for its colour and drama.
As the early morning mists clear to reveal the burnt oranges, golden hues and deep reds of the turning trees, eagle-eyed nature-lovers can see the redwings arriving from Iceland to spend the autumn and winter here.
Among those keen to welcome the redwings and watch the leaves change colour, William Dyson, curator at Great Comp Garden in St Mary's Platt, is all set to celebrate the autumn season.
The garden’s new event Bulbs ‘N Things, which opens from Sunday, October 15, will welcome visitors to come and gain advice on what to plant as the earth chills.
Great Comp Garden is full of autumnal inspiration as the Katsura tree drops its sweet-fragranced golden leaves and the oak turns a vibrant red on The Sweep.
The garden is home to tall grasses, colourful dahlias, perennials and notable salvias. The pinks and purples of the salvias bring drama and colour to the large grasses in the borders.
Visitors can also enjoy woodland walks at Great Comp and watch the colours changing and plants readying themselves for winter.
Hever Castle, in Edenbridge, will also be celebrating Autumn Colour in October with events focusing on fungi, how to create a dye garden, and autumnal walks around the lake.
Home to a fantastic collection of trees, visitors to the childhood home of Anne Boleyn will be able to pass under the oak trees on the aptly-named Anne Boleyn’s Walk.
They can also look up at the evergreen Scots Pines, red pin oaks (Quercus palustris) and delicate buttery yellows of the larch trees (Larix) on Lake Walk.
Visitors can stimulate their sense of smell on Sunday Walk with the scent of the yellow Cercidipylliam japonica or submerge themselves in the forest glade at the top of the lake in Smugglers Walk before moving past the Japanese Tea-House folly.
The Acer palmatum and Quercus robur cast red shadows on the waters and the last of the cosmos in the meadows bring Lake Walk to life.
It’s not just the trees providing colour and structure at this time of year - a myriad of grasses in our gardens at home bring structure and movement.
Hever Castle's Faith’s Garden has various miscanthus and Stipa tennuissima that provide a beautiful backdrop for the colourful perennials that throw shapes with their multidimensional seed heads while the asters, alstroemerias and rudbeckias thrive on.
Autumnal colours begin to appear towards the end of September and, if you have time, you can catch the turning leaves at the family-owned Edwardian gardens of Mount Ephraim in Faversham.
Hidden beside the Kent Downs and home to the Dawes family since 1695, the gardens were laid out in the early 1900s with topiary, a lake, a Japanese rock garden and the fantastic Miz Maze which still looks good long into September.
There is early autumnal colour thanks to the incredible tree collection at Mount Ephraim and if you head to the Water Garden you’ll see the Acers as they begin to turn.
If you want to plan an autumnal garden you need to think about Acers and maples - they are great autumnal staples and can be grown well in pots as well as in the earth.
Mount Ephraim will also host the Plant Fairs Roadshow for the first time on Sunday, September 24 before the gardens close their gates for the year at the end of the month.
The Plant Fair will be a finale for the team from Kent and Sussex who featured heavily in BBC coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The plant sellers will be specialising in perennials and autumn favourites.