Mid-September and the colours in the garden are intense, rich, mature –  glowing with a depth unmatched the rest of the year.  The welcoming pots clustered around the ancient front porch contain Ageratums, Coleus (now known as Solenostemon), Canna, Rudbeckia, Agapanthus, Dahlias – the brightness of colour and the use of plants like the dark Aeonium ‘Schwartzkopf’ striking exotic notes which are repeated throughout the garden at this time of the year.  Cacti are planted out on the Lutyens steps at the back of the house where bright red poppies had bloomed in early summer.  In the Exotic Garden: Dahlia ‘Moonfire’,  with Arundo donax in the round trough, Verbena bonariensis and ferns spilling across the paths which wind through, in places, an impenetrable jungle of Ipomoea, towering Castor oil plants, Canna ‘Wyoming’ and the hardy japanese banana Musa basjoo.  Dahlia ‘David Howard’ makes a warm splash in the Long Border, while the massive cardoons at the back have finished but are left to tower over the scene of riotous colour below – yellows and reds are woven into the border.  Ricinus (Castor oil plant), as seen in the Exotic Garden, also repeated in the Long Border.  Orange crocosmia cut a dash in front of Canna ‘Wyoming’ next to a  low-growing conifer where the gaze may rest a while.  In the Sunk Garden there is the musical sound of the wind through the grasses and, in the stone trough, purple sedum is shot through with vibrant orange nasturtiums.

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