9 gardens in Hertfordshire to visit in late summer

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 September 2016

Enjoying the gardens at St Francis Hospice, Berkhamsted

Enjoying the gardens at St Francis Hospice, Berkhamsted


After the highs of midsummer, borders still look stunning in September’s warmth. Philippa Pearson highlights the best late summer gardens and plants in Herts this month

I love late summer in the garden. At midsummer borders billowed with blousy roses and tall delphiniums, now the garden makes room for hot and brilliant colours. The late summer sun brings the vibrant colours of dahlias, crocosmias and asters and many flowers will continue to bloom until the first frosts, creating a beautiful backdrop to changing autumnal foliage later in the year.

Top plants to try for late summer colour include Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’ which makes a tall clump, 1.5m high with pretty bright yellow cone-like flowers adored by bees. Another yellow plant to try is the perennial sunflower Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ which thrives in sun or part shade. Asters (Michaelmas daisies) start flowering from August through to October and come in all sizes and a range of colours from blue, violet, pink and white. Agapanthus is great for containers as their roots like to be constricted. Some are not frost hardy so keep in a sheltered shed or conservatory over the winter and place in full sun as shade encourages foliage growth at the expense of flowers. Echinacea have huge central cones which attract butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. Their Latin name comes from the Greek word Echinos, meaning hedgehog, and refers to the spiny, round seed head.

Late summer garden visits

There are still plenty of gardens to visit across the county in September. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of brilliant colour and be inspired.

Tall Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' looks dramatic in September bordersTall Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' looks dramatic in September borders

60 Bury Lane

Dahlias and a lively mix of late summer perennials and grasses.

Datchworth SG3 6SS

£4.50, children free, for NGS.

Friday 2, 5-7.30pm with wine. Sunday 4, 1-4.30pm with homemade teas

90 London Road

A newly extended garden divided into four different areas by sweeping clipped laurel and beech hedges. Attractive late flowering borders.

Shenley WD7 9DX

£3, children free, for NGS.

Sunday 4, midday-6pm with homemade teas

Echinacea having stunning central conesEchinacea having stunning central cones

Hospice of St Francis

Pergolas, paved terraces, lawns, ponds, and flower and shrub beds plus an Oriental healing garden and a sensory garden with views across to Ashridge estate.

Spring Garden Lane, Berkhamsted HP4 3GW

£4, children free, for NGS.

Sunday 4, 2-5pm with homemade teas

St Stephens Avenue Gardens

Two gardens are open – 20 and 30 St Stephens Avenue. The plantswoman’s garden at number 20 has seasonal containers, colour-themed beds, a wildlife pond and borders packed with successional layers of planting to give interest throughout the year. There’s a Mediterranean feel to the gravelled front garden at number 30 while the back garden has clipped box, beech and hornbeam providing a cool backdrop to the strong colours of the herbaceous borders.

St Albans AL3 4AD

Combined admission £5, children free, for NGS.

Sunday 4, 2-6pm with homemade teas

8 Kingcroft Road

The beautiful mature town garden of a garden writer and designer in a contemporary informal style with pool and pebbled beach, gravel garden, late summer bulbs, perennials and shrubs, mature trees, shady borders, greenhouse and inspirational container displays.

Harpenden AL5 1EJ

£3.50, children free, for NGS.

Friday 9, 5-8pm with wine. Sunday 11, 2-6pm with homemade tea

Pretty planting at 8 Kingcroft, HarpendenPretty planting at 8 Kingcroft, Harpenden

Alswick Hall

Tudor House with five acres of landscaped gardens set in unspoiled farmland. It includes two well-established natural ponds with rockeries, herbaceous borders, shrubs, roses, extensive dahlia beds, a woodland walk and a wildflower meadow. Plant stalls on the day.

Hare Street Road, Buntingford SG9 0AA

£5, children free, for the British Red Cross

Sunday 11, 2-5pm with homemade teas

Dahlias at Alswick Hall, BuntingfordDahlias at Alswick Hall, Buntingford


Two-acre garden with year round interest and many special trees and shrubs. Rose garden, arboretum, koi pond, nature pond, shrub and herbaceous borders. Also has a ‘cave’, and lots of places to sit.

Stoney Lane, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead HP3 0DP

£5, children free, for NGS.

Sunday 18, 2-5pm with homemade teas

Knebworth House

The romantic exterior of Knebworth House with its turrets, domes and gargoyles is the perfect backdrop for the gardens. Colourful borders, a walled vegetable garden, a maze, fine trees, a wilderness area and a herb garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Gardens are open September 1-4, 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25.

Hertfordshire SG3 6PY

£9.50, children up to three years free.

Until September 25

Crocosmia at Knebworth HouseCrocosmia at Knebworth House

Hatfield House

Enjoy late summer planting in different areas including West Garden, the Sundial Garden, the Old Palace Garden, the Woodland Garden and the East Garden. Gardens open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-5.30pm and the East Garden on Wednesdays only from 10am-5pm.

Hertfordshire AL9 5NQ

West Garden and Park: adults £10, children £6. East Garden £4.

Until 30 September

The East Garden at Hatfield HouseThe East Garden at Hatfield House

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