Autumn colour at Aberglasney


For beautiful autumn colour, put a trip to Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire, Wales into your diary and discover these walled gardens set around a medieval house

Aberglasney House in its beautiful garden setting
Above: Aberglasney House in its beautiful garden setting

For beautiful autumn colour, put a trip to Aberglasney in your diary. Spectacularly set in the beautiful Tywi valley of Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney Gardens were rescued from slipping into terminal decline in the 1990s by the Aberglasney Restoration Trust, with a major donation by United States horticulturalists and benefactors Frank and Ann Cabot, and were opened to the public in 1999.

Clerodendron bungei

As leaves begin to fall, the gardens will be awash with golden hues and brilliants colours of the new season. As well as the dramatic depth of colour provided by the magnificent ‘Tulepo’ trees such as Nyssa sinensis and Nyssa sylvatica, there’s the lovely Oxydendron arboretum, which, despite it being related to heather, is a slow-growing, large tree. Look out, too, for Japanese maples, the Persian Ironwoods – Parrotia persica, the rarely seen Lagerstroemia indica ‘Petite Pinkie’ commonly known as the ‘Crape Myrtle’ which has rich gold autumn colour, and the Stewartia sinensis, a relative of a camellia, which has radiant red coloured leaves.

Stewartie sinensis

Other plants which come into their own in the autumn include choice shrubs like Corylopsis, Clerodendron, Enkianthus, Fothergilla and Hamamelis and Cornus, of which there are several varieties of each represented in the garden. Among the floral favourites are the Liriope muscari, a tuberous perennial from Asia with unusual spikes of bright violet-blue flowers which open during the autumn; the brazen blush of the ‘Red Dragon’ Kaffir Lily and the exceptional beauty of the ‘Pink Princess’ Kaffir. One of the most interesting is the late flowering ‘Toad Lily’ which, despite its unfortunate common name, has highly attractive pink, purple, white or yellow flowers and makes a very unusual addition to any border.

Graham Rankin, director, insists that autumn is one of the best times to visit Aberglasney. “The gardens have been voted one of the UK’s top gardens for glorious autumn colour by a leading Sunday newspaper. Aberglasney has been planted for year-round interest and we’ve used some of the very best forms of known autumn colouring trees and shrubs.”

The garden and shop are open daily except Christmas Day. Admission: £7. Aberglasney Gardens, Llangathen, Carmarthenshire; tel: (01558) 668998;

Nyssa and Cornus by Aberglasney House
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