Garden case study: a walled garden with late-season planting

The walled garden around this 18th-century coach house started life as a vegetable plot. Now it’s packed with flowers, colour and interest right into the autumn

This pretty walled garden in Surrey blends both traditional and contemporary styles. In its one acre it packs in textural plantings of long-season perennials, a courtyard rose garden, wildflower meadow, kitchen garden and wide areas of lawn.

After seven years in Barbara and Stephen Brooks’ care, the garden has been transformed to include softer planting, seating areas, more distinct changes of levels and, most importantly, plants to maintain interest beyond the summer months.

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garden and lawn of English coach house

The sheltered garden divides into different areas of herbaceous planting that includes repeated ornamental grasses, sedum, salvias and Japanese anemone for late-season colour

Barbara’s advice to extend the flowering season

  • Spend time cutting back perennials in July for a second flush of foliage and flower – Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Alchemilla mollis respond particularly well.
  • Make sure at least one third of the plants in your herbaceous borders are plants for late-season impact. Ornamental grasses are ideal, and Salvia greggii ‘Royal Bumble’ is a good choice that flowers on and on.
  • Keep on top of the roses, deadheading them regularly.
  • Deadhead everything that will continue flowering.
  • Feed flowering plants regularly – chicken pellets every spring, rose food for the roses monthly, tomato food on the dahlias, Vitax Q4 to get some proper growth going and liquid seaweed on the shrubs for a boost if they need it.
  • Include dahlias in your scheme.
  • Include some structure with yew or beech hedging.
  • Leave herbaceous plants standing late into the year. Their seedheads and hollow stems are good for wildlife and look beautiful touched with frost.

garden with lawn path clipped hedges and purple flowers

A focal point at the end of the path draws the eye along borders of billowing Geranium ‘Rozanne’, salvias, bronze fennel and Verbena bonariensis, punctuated with clipped buxus

seating area and outdoor table on patio in traditional country garden

Barbara describes her style as ‘formal country’ and wants both the house and garden to look beautiful but still relaxed for family life, with an abundance of seating and effervescent planting, such as Salvia ‘Amistad’ and Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Brilliant’ (sedum)

walled garden with raised beds of herbs near coach house

Sunny raised beds near the kitchen are ideal for an array of herbs and cut flowers, and their textures work well with the adjacent plantings of Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and the fading beauty of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

potted plant in garden with lawn and row of trees beyond

Container plants are used to add interest and height on paved seating areas and can be easily refreshed with seasonal plantings

a row of pyrus calleryana Canticleer in English garden

Young trees such as the rows of Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ will continue to mature and make a striking feature with their tufty underplantings of Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Flower bed in walled gardenwith plants for late season colour

The crimson and copper tones from Eupatorium maculatum, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, Hylotelephium ‘Ruby Glow’ and Rosa ‘Darcey Bussell’ glisten in the autumnal light

traditional brick and glass greenhouse in walled garden

The garden walls provide additional shelter for tender plants in the traditional-style brick and glass greenhouse

arched doorway in old brick wall with view into garden beyond

Containers with bright pelargoniums and glimpses of the garden beyond the gate entice the visitor into the walled garden

garden with outdoor dining area and greenhouse

A series of outdoor seating and dining areas provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy any milder autumn weather

herbstfreude purple sedum

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (autumn joy) is Barbara’s favourite sedum and keeps the garden looking colourful late into the season

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Gardening Writer