Foliage in the Foreground

Summer is almost over. There is just one week of summer left for the UK in 2015.
On 23rd September Autumn begins. Seasonal changes in day length and falling temperatures mean that already our flowers are beginning to bow out gracefully leaving attractive seed heads behind. Even though leaves are still green some of our trees are stunning with the low sunlight shining through leaves.
Here’s the Katsura Grove at Scampston Hall.

As the sun dips in the sky grasses are back lit and dramatic long shadows are created by tall stems. Autumn is coming and it’s time for foliage to take centre stage in our gardens.


It’s easy to get caught up with the drama and beauty of flowers in spring and summer. Usually foliage does not feature highly on any shopping list then. It’s often relegated to the background. But at this time of year the structure of the garden is revealed. If you love a naturalistic feel like this perennial meadow at Scampston below, or an even wilder look to your garden some structure is required in the form of a tree, a hedge or topiary. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just a straightforward line of plants to create a hedge or a simple box ball or two will help to pull your planting scheme together. Somehow, adding plants with distinctive shapes helps to make any garden feel less haphazard and more like everything has been done on purpose. Foliage comes into the foreground in autumn.

Perennial Meadow.

Our own garden is quite wild in places. We chose deciduous hedges of Hawthorn and Hornbeam which can cope with the wet winter earth. For a more formal setting backing the Summer border we have an evergreen Yew hedge. We planted them over ten years ago and I’m very happy to say that they look like they’ve always been here. For us they act as windbreaks because we live on top of a hill and in rural locations like this the wind whirls around and seems to come from every direction. Small garden birds nest in them and they provide a corridor along which small mammals can meander in safety. There’s a lot to be said for a hedge!


Some of the best hedges I’ve seen are these in the Walled Garden at Scampston Hall.
The Hall near Malton in North Yorkshire is set in acres of Capability Brown Parkland.
Close to the house is The Walled Garden which was designed by Piet Oudolf and opened in 2004.

If you’d like to visit Scamspton Walled Garden it’s open until the 1st November 2015.
Please see their website for opening times and prices. (Lovely restaurant and plant sales too!)

I’m joining in with Pam Pennick at Digging for Foliage Day today.
I hope the sun is shining wherever you are. Happy Gardening.Love Gillian


8 thoughts on “Foliage in the Foreground

  1. Beautiful, sun-warmed gardens! I adore grasses in any season (well, maybe not late winter), and this is truly their season to shine. Or should I say, glow? And you’re right that the stiff forms of hedges set them off so well. We don’t see a lot of hedging here in the U.S. except poorly clipped specimens along the front foundations of homes, which are kept low in order to see out the windows. I’d love to see hedges used more often as intentional elements within gardens.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Pam. Hedges are a big feature here in British gardens. Many of us are very territorial and like our boundaries clearly defined. Perhaps it’s all about keeping the neighbours out!

  2. Great photos. Scampston is top of my must see for 2016 and your pictures just confirm it as a must see. Did Tom Stuart Smith have involvement there too? Your borders are looking great, rather autumnal now.

    1. Scampston is fantastic. You will love it Dorris. I know it was Piet Oudolf who designed it. I don’t think Tom Stuart Smith was involved. All the photos in this post are of Scampston Walled Garden and were taken in October 2014. (I wish my garden looked this good!)

  3. Stunning images, grass inflorescences can be so hard to capture – I love the tiles, the red tints of the panicum dazzles at this time of year. What a fabulous garden, thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Thanks Kate. Scampston is well worth a visit. It is fabulous. I’ve never actually been able to tear myself out of the Walled Garden to look around the rest of the garden!

  4. Beautiful photos, love the hedges. Is the top grass a Japanese Blood Grass? I have some, and it was nice, but other plants sort of took it over. I plan to try to resurrect some next Spring. 🙂

    1. I think it’s a Panicum possibly ‘Rehbraun’. I grow Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ here and it is most definitely not as vigorous and other grasses in our garden. I have to make special efforts to give it plenty of space and light so that the others don’t overpower it.

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