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Summer's floral finale at Kent's National Trust gardens

PUBLISHED: 17:06 16 September 2019

Bumble bee (Bombus) on a Dahlia in kitchen garden at Chartwell (photo: National Trust Images/Rachel Warren)

Bumble bee (Bombus) on a Dahlia in kitchen garden at Chartwell (photo: National Trust Images/Rachel Warren)

©National Trust Images/Rachel Warren

Embrace the warm reds and golds lighting up a National Trust garden near you as summer takes a final bow

After weeks of summer fun, enjoying the great outdoors, it can be hard to think about getting back to school, college or work. The National Trust is on hand to make the return more palatable, as many of its glorious gardens are still showcasing beautiful late-summer colour.

Harvest festival

At Chartwell, head straight to the Walled Garden, which is still bursting with floral colour and seasonal produce. Dahlias, which have been cultivated at Chartwell since the 1930s, offer vibrant early autumn colour, not only in the cut flower bed but also as part of the floral displays created by volunteers that adorn the house.

Roses and romance

Emmetts Garden is famous for its year-round colour and interest. There are still plenty of summer flowers, while later-flowering roses are complemented by white Japanese anemones and pastel autumn crocuses. The rock garden also offers splashes of colour, including trailing blue rock bindweed and dainty fleabane. Look out for the first of the fungi peeking up around the garden and Nyssa sinensis, with its blend of green, red and yellow.

The South Cottage garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden (photo: National Trust Images/Nina Elliot-Newman)The South Cottage garden at Sissinghurst Castle Garden (photo: National Trust Images/Nina Elliot-Newman)

Autumn glow

Vita Sackville West's famous garden at Sissinghurst works so perfectly due, in part, to its separate 'rooms', offering a continually changing focus. Highlights include the cottage garden, planted with bright reds and golds, and the newly restored Delos garden, which has gradually transformed throughout the year, thanks to concepts from garden designer Dan Pearson's studio. The ambitious project sees the return to an ideal that Vita and Harold wanted to achieve, following their trips to the Greek island of Delos in the 1930s. New, Mediterranean-style planting taking place this month will give the garden its finishing touch.

Picture perfect

At Scotney Castle the walled garden is full of the late-summer blooms and intricate foliage of asters and sedums, with dahlias adding even more colour. Fungi grow out of gnarled tree stumps and you'll spot the first of the autumn berries, such as holly, kalmia and yew. However, take care not to handle the berries, as they are poisonous.

Herbaceous hues

Visit Ightham Mote and admire its herbaceous borders where the reddish-pink petals of sedum plants mingle with orangey-red helenium and purple asters.

In the orchard, the apple trees are laden down with fruit gently ripening in readiness for the annual apple and orchard event, taking place on 28 September.

Don't miss the unique Katsura, or 'toffee apple tree', named for its sweet scent reminiscent of burnt sugar and candy floss.

Find out more

To find out more about early autumn events and National Trust gardens offering floral colour and seasonal interest through to early October, visit www.nationaltrust,.org.uk/south-east

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