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The Picton Garden in October

The Picton Garden is situated below the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire. The garden is famous for its aster collections and its beautiful small garden. In fact it holds the National Plant Collection of Michaelmas Daisies, so a visit in September and October is a real treat.

We have already visited the garden twice before, once in autmn and once in spring and it is wonderful every time we visit. This visit was in mid-October but the seasons this year had been so strange that everything in the garden is way ahead of time for a normal season, at least three weeks out of sinc. So this visit would prove to be very different to our previous autumn wander.

The reception, with its rustic wooden hut and beautiful gate are matched by the friendly welcome we received from the garden owners and managers, members of the Picton family. Immediately you realise this is not gong to be a sterile collection of Asters, but a well-designed beautifuly planted garden with winding paths among mixed borders, each with its own character. There are even a few pots of succulents near the entrance.

The first views of the borders along the paths set the quality and sensitive style of planting that we were to enjoy throughout.


We enjoyed some interesting cntrasting shrub and tree foliage combinations.


But we had to admire the way asters were used mixed with other perbaceous plants and the clever use of all the many perennials, huddled together in the borders.


As we neared the end of our wanderings around these beautiful autumnal garden scenes, we discovered display beds showing how different asters fitted into the different families. The nursery was our last port of call before we returned to our car for the journey home. Of course we had quite a boot full of Asters with a couple of hardy Chrysanthemums for good measure.


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Return to The Picton Garden

The Picton Garden situated close to the Malvern Hils in Worcestershire, is well known as a garden to visit in late summer through to early autumn, mainly because it holds a national collection of Asters. The vast number of asters grown there are featured among herbaceous plantings with some pretty special shrubs and trees too. We love it at that time of the year but knew after listening to Helen Picton talking that it should be a garden worth visiting throughout its open period.

We decided to make a visit at the beginning of April to see what the garden had to offer at that time of year. We found so much of interest and enjoyed our visit immensely. To the one side of the carpark a small rock garden was in the middle of being developed and already showing plants of interest especially these unusual irises and species tulips.


We loved the bright blue gate welcoming us into the garden – very inviting indeed, made even more so by this succulent planter on top of a brick pillar close by.


A large pot of very bright tulips set the scene for what was waiting to be discovered on our wanders around the meandering pathways. Here in the gallery below are some of the colourful tulips we found as we walked around. As usual click on first photo and navigate using the arrows.

The beauty of looking around a garden in the spring months is being constantly on the look out for special specimens which can sometimes make us stop, bend over and get a close up look. Here at The Picton Garden there were special tiny plants to get close to as well as many perennials, shrubs and trees, making it a very special spring garden. The younger members of the Picton family are making their mark on these already special gardens and extending the seasons of interest. Take a wander with us along the winding gravel paths as we discover the Picton Garden in April.

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Pride of Picton – Michaelmas Daisies

Near one of England’s most beautiful landscapes, the Malvern Hills is the village of Colwall, where we found the National Collection of Asters. The Picton Gardens and nursery which snuggle in beneath the hills is the place to go if you like Michaelmas Daisies. If you are already a fan you will become a bigger fan when you realise the vast range of flower colours, and how many different sized and shaped plants there are. If you were not a fan and went there you would come out a lifetime fan!

Even the gate welcomes you with a daisy!

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Now follow us around as we explore this 2 acre autumn garden. The first set of photos were taken within ten minutes of starting out and already we had discovered the huge range of colours asters are painted in. But this garden is not just a collection of Michaelmas Daisies but a beautifully designed illustration of how good a garden can look in October. The yellows of Helianthum, Kniphofia and Rudbeckia all contrast with the pinks and purples of the Asters and grasses such as Miscanthus provide a perfect foil.

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We had already come across Cotinus and Rhus which gave rich jewels of deep coloured foliage adding structure to the borders. Shrubs and trees featured more as we moved on, enticed by this gently curving pathway. Acers, deciduous Euonymus and Cornus fwere the stars here before the path led us out of the trees, with the woven apples sitting in the border, to the next section of the garden.

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This area featured smaller shrubs punctuated by taller trees such as a rich gold and bronze Sorbus amid areas of perennials, a large percentage of which were of course Asters.

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Beneath the peeling trunk of an Acer griseum these two woven youngsters were enjoying leisure time in the garden, the young girl quietly absorbed while her brother concentrates on perfecting his hand stands.

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Even though we were emerged in Asters we could not help but be impressed by the incredible variety of texture in the bark of the trees.

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The only way to finish this post is to indulge in a rich mix of Asters.

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A Wander around our Allotments in October

Flooding and its problems have dominated our allotment month. For the third time this year our allotment site has been under water. Rotten potatoes, bark paths washed away, rows of seedlings washed onto other plots and onto pathways and items stored in sheds ruined. This is sadly becoming a regular occurence. We have a meeting with the town council next week so perhaps we can come away with some positive news for the allotment members.

But let’s concentrate on the positives of our lovely site. The people and the plants. This is our friend Sherlie with a monster cabbage!

Phil had never grown apples until four years ago when he asked me to help him set up a row of cordon apples and pears and teach him the necessary skills. Now look at what he has achieved this year!

Our wander with camera in hand took us through the Autumn Garden over to our plot and then across to the Winter Garden via the Spring and Summer Gardens.

The Autumn Garden, appropriately, is now looking wonderful with late season flowers looking colourful amongst foliage the colour of fire.

Butterflies, bees and hoverflies were flocking to the asters in this garden for the first fortnight this month but as the weather turned colder they rapidly disappeared. Buddlejas flower profusely around the site during the summer attracting beneficial insects and pollinators, but this orange one flowers in the autumn.

We grow a variety of Sorbus trees here and they provide wonderful foils for late flowering perennials.

The stars here though have to be the Echinacea.

Around the trees in the Birch Grove fairies have been at work. So many plot holders have been taking photos of their handywork.

On our own plot we are still picking autumn raspberries. The three varieties of kale we are growing are looking quite colourful as is a sole sunflower – the only sun to be seen up on the lotties at the moment. The day these pics were taken was dark and overcast.

A little bit of extra colour can be found in the leaves of our blackberry bramble.

The crops that we will be harvesting during the winter and early spring are coming along nicely. Leeks, parsnips, carrots and celeriac.

The Winter Garden is an oasis of brightness with most of the colours coming from foliage.

I shall finish my October wander with some great news. Three Bowbrook Allotment Community gardeners were invited to the Mayor’s Award Ceremony earlier in the month. Dave, on the left, received his certificate and cup for the Best Front Garden in Shrewsbury and Sue and Paul collected their award for Best Half Allotment in Shrewsbury. Well done to them!