Pantheon takes centre stage in autumn ‘performance’

Autumn may have been slow to arrive but now the landmark Pantheon at Stourhead is being framed in rich autumn colours, and is once more open to visitors after months of vital repairs.

Alan Power, Stourhead’s head gardener, and sometime media star, said: “The garden is showing definite signs of autumn, with strong pockets of colour arriving.

“To really appreciate the change that happens in autumn, you should visit a few times, to experience just how the garden develops throughout the season, and the how the landscape changes.” Continue reading…

Stourhead celebrates Autumn

A wet September could hold the secret to spectacular autumn colours at Stourhead in Wiltshire.

After a dry summer, National Trust gardeners reported that dry trees were more likely to shed their leaves quickly, before the colours fully developed. However, following the wet spell in September, hopes are higher that the full spectacle of autumn colours will be seen at their best this year. Continue reading…

Ring in seasonal change with “leaf line”

Visitors wanting to know how the autumn colours are developing at Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire can now call a special ‘leaf line’ for the latest updates.

Although autumn colours started showing early on some trees, gardeners are reporting a steady start to autumn which is likely to linger into November.

The special leaf line – 01747 841152 – will have regular recorded updates from Stourhead head gardener Alan Power as the 600 different species of trees and shrubs in the world-famous landscape gardens change. The recorded update is accessed by dialling the number and selecting option 6.

‘We had a few early hints of autumn, and the Maples, the Norway and Japanese Maples, are already fading but they are always among the first to turn. The rest of the garden is coming along a nice steady pace,’ said Alan.

‘Autumn is not a one day event – there is no single best time to visit. It is a six to eight week period when people love to come and visit and plot the changes as the colours wash across the different trees in the garden.

‘Right now the beech is just starting to show the very first signs of colour but the oak is still very green. It is always the one of the last to turn.’

Every autumn at Stourhead is different as the trees respond to weather throughout the summer and subsequently during September. Depending on the amount of moisture in the ground and the stresses the trees have suffered from weather over the summer months, autumn can start very suddenly or can develop gently across the gardens.

Alan reports that this year has seen a gentle start with different types of trees in the plant collection starting to change at different times.

‘It is the autumn that brings out the best in the gardens here. The plant collection itself is worth coming to see but added to it the architectural features within the landscape, the way the trees reflect in the lake – especially when the tulip trees on the islands turn yellow – makes autumn well worth the time of watching the changes develop,’ he said.

The vision of the garden was laid down in the 18th century by Henry Hoare II who placed Stourhead at the forefront of the 18th-century English landscape movement. Inspired by the views of Italy captured by artists in paint, he decided to create a landscape garden at Stourhead that would bring art to life.

His work was carried on by his grandson Richard Colt Hoare who added to the garden and developed the current paths also adding many of the broadleaved trees, especially beech, acers, chestnuts, planes and the tulip trees.

Throughout autumn there are several events planned at Stourhead including A Fungi Foray on 8 October, a woodland Trim Trek on 29 October and an autumn colour Walk on 30 October.

For more information on events at Stourhead visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead