See all stories
13 Oct 2022

Autumn in our gardens

Written by Angela McManus
A close-up view of a branch of a fire bush, with many red and pink leaves.
Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’
Fantastic foliage and an abundance of fruit make our gardens wonderful places to visit this autumn. Here are a few suggestions to inspire you.

Haddo House

Visitors sometimes bypass the carefully tended garden of Haddo House on their way into the country park, but to do so would be to miss a treat. Make a visit early in autumn and you’ll catch the last colours of the season in the terraces and herbaceous borders, with luminous yellow coneflowers, white milky bellflowers, rich-red Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and vivid purple asters. The lime tree avenue at the start of the Scots mile turns a rich golden yellow as the season progresses, while the Indian horse chestnut and copper beeches also put on a colourful show.

Look out for the young ‘Olympic Flame’ rowan tree, planted in the grounds of Haddo House in celebration of our colleague Edoardo Bedin, who walked 500 miles around Scotland to raise funds for the Trust at the start of the pandemic.

Castle Fraser

The traditional walled garden at Castle Fraser has excellent accessibility for all visitors thanks to its solid paths. Take a wander through and breathe in the wonderful musty scents of autumn. As well as herbaceous and medicinal borders, you’ll find a rich array of fruit and vegetables, including currants and gooseberries grown traditionally on poles. This season, the gardening team have noticed an abundance of berries on the hollies, hawthorn, Malus and Sorbus trees, attracting an array of songbirds to feast inside the garden.

And as Halloween approaches, keep your eyes peeled for a quirky figure made of moss guarding the pumpkins and marrows: he’s one of the stars of the forthcoming Halloween trail, running from Monday 24 to Sunday 30 October.


Inverewe Garden will close for the season on 29 October, so get in quick for a last visit of the year. The remote Highland location meant this garden was originally designed for full production – fruit, vegetables, cut flowers and ornamental plants – all of which are still grown here today. From Shetland Black potatoes to curled Scotch kale, there is an array of local produce to see within the Torridonian sandstone walls of Inverewe’s walled garden.

Beyond the produce beds, there’s plenty of colour in the trees – maples, cherries, mountain ash and the Sargent’s rowans in front of the visitor centre and along Jubilee Walk. The foliage changes through autumn, from shades of orange and pink to dark red with clusters of bright red berries.

Malleny Garden

A small cluster of majestic yews keep constant watch over the changing seasons in Malleny Garden near Edinburgh. As autumn arrives, these ‘Four Evangelists’ bear witness to the burnishing of the leaves on younger trees and shrubs. The foliage on the fire bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’) turns crimson while, by the fountain, two varieties of Sorbus also offer up colourful leaves and vibrant berries in shades of yellow and red.

From Malleny’s incredible rose collection, the most remarkable autumn sight is courtesy of Rosa moyesii, which produces bright red hips almost the size of a thumb. And don’t miss the largest rose in the garden: Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’. This rambler winds its way through one of the conifers to the height of 25 metres and bears many thousands of orange, pea-sized hips.

House of Dun

The south terrace of House of Dun in Angus features an elegant semi-circular box hedge parterre and sculpted yews, while espalier-trained fruit trees grow across the garden walls. From this side of the house, you can enjoy superb views over the tidal mudflats of Montrose Basin, a place that hums with activity at this time of year. Over 80,000 geese arrive around the autumn equinox. They can be seen flying overhead in vast numbers and settling in the fields surrounding the house early in the mornings and the evenings.

Elsewhere on the estate, red squirrels are busy collecting food in the woods, where you may spot them as you stroll along Lady Augusta’s Walk through the Den of Dun. Visit House of Dun early in autumn, and you’ll also catch the last of the colour in the eastern walled garden, before the gardeners dig the beds over in late October, ready to replant for next year.

Join today

Join us