Late Summer At Rosemoor


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Stipa gigantea


Time for a bit more garden inspiration. With summer days almost at an end it’s a great time to go visiting especially if, like me, you’re looking for ways to extend the season into the weeks to come.

Grasses are at their peak right now. Perhaps it’s because my interest in them has also peaked this year, but I’d never noticed just how many there are growing successfully at Rosemoor. Stipa gigantea is definitely one for the list. As we continue to clear new sections of our own overgrown garden even a small group of these would occupy serious real estate and help me to suppress the regrowth of weeds. But it needs careful placement. This is a grass that demands to be seen. The trick is to give it sufficient room to accommodate its glorious spreading plumes and, ideally, in a position to catch the late afternoon light. Then, as here, it will really shine out.


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But it was the Hot Garden that I’d particularly come to see, drifts of perennials and grasses such as I’m trying to develop on the slope.


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So much colour here, even this late in the season.

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Miscanthus and sedum


Are there trees beyond your boundary? Incorporate them into your garden by layering your planting. It isn’t always necessary to have Rosemoor’s rolling acres to recreate this scene.


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An island bed within Lady Anne’s garden


The first autumn tints and Persicaria, in the foreground, provide colour but the spent flowers of Phlomis russeliana, on the right, give structure and will go on providing interest through into winter, especially when liberally sprinkled with frost and snow.


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Some things I can only admire from afar. The Mediterranean look might not sit so well within a densely wooded valley. But here it is wonderful. The pot, perfectly in proportion, is placed such that it catches light angled in from the side. Once again it is softened by grasses, in this case Stipa tenuissima.


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The Stone Garden


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Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’

It’s early. But doesn’t it look all the better for that? Standing out as a sentinel amidst the greens.


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Hydrangea aspera Kawakamii Group

It is the season of hydrangeas. Pink, white, blue and sometimes all three!


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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’


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The Winter Garden lawn and shelter


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A shelter in the Cottage Garden too. Did I ever mention that it rains a lot in Devon?


I’d like to have a duck on our roof. Or maybe a pheasant would be more appropriate. Mike argues that Ptolemy would fly up there (it has been known) and peck it to bits. And then we’d have to pay to get scaffolding back to remove it. Ever the practical one, Mike.


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Globe Artichoke


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Kale ‘Black Magic’


The Cottage Garden has vegetables intermingled with blooms. I’ve dabbled a bit, but really want to have a serious go at this idea next year. Blooms bring in pollinators and the ornamental veggie varieties used all looked extremely healthy. This tuscan kale has been bred specifically for the cooler British climate and is apparently tasty too. No sign of nibbled leaves or white fly here.


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Euonymus planipes

Going straight on the must-have list.


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2017-10-24T19:32:43+00:00September 20th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Charlie@Seattle Trekkker September 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    That was such a fun walk through a lush, gorgeous garden; amazing to see the hydrangeas still in bloom. The photos were absolutely superb and your comments and suggestions appreciated.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      It always amazes me to see hydrangeas in the States in bloom so early! One of the differences between our respective climates perhaps. Thanks Charlie.

  2. bittster September 20, 2015 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Beautiful inspiration! Is that a hedge in your last photo or a green wall?! I can only dream of such a close trim 🙂
    The green lushness of the gardens is particularly nice this time of year. I have far too many seed heads and brown when I look about, nothing like that hot garden!

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      It’s a hedge, but I did wonder looking at it whether maybe someone gave it an extra close trim this time around! I should have visited the Hot Garden maybe three weeks ago when it was at its peak but there’s still plenty of colour left to see.

  3. Mise September 20, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I particularly like your fine idea of layering to incorporate trees beyond the boundary. No tree beyond my boundary shall remain unincorporated henceforth, and there are heaps of the to the south, big ones.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      I’ve done it here and it really does work. It makes the garden seem much larger than it actually is.

  4. Pauline September 20, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Oh yes, the hot border is fantastic, just what I’m trying to create in the border by the field, but maybe not quite so hot! I’ve made a not of the Hydrangea kawakamii, I have just the spot for that one! Thank you for sharing your visit with us, I always seem to go to Rosemoor earlier in the year, I must make a late visit next year.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Yes, I think maybe my version will be a little toned down too, but here it has to fit into a woodland setting. Rosemoor is wooded as well of course, but they have the space to create distance and discrete areas which the rest of us maybe don’t.

  5. kate@barnhouse September 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    ‘Marvellous’ indeed, thank you for your well illustrated tour of the wonderful gardens at Rosemoor. It’s a great time of year for visiting gardens of this sort for late season inspiration, worth it for the euonymus and miscanthus alone, both are at a peak right now. The scale and depth of the borders is staggering, what an object lesson.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      I am on a mission to extend this garden’s season in both directions. Not so easy in Spring as bulbs don’t do well here but in autumn there are loads of possibilities. The miscanthus really does look good and I must get some. I saw your dwarf version too, it is very neat indeed.

  6. Helen September 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I like the Miscanthus and sedum picture best, I prefer all the greens to the bright colours. You could get a duck/pheasant weather vane, would look good

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      A metal duck or pheasant would certainly last longer. We had a thatch bird on the last house and it didn’t last too long. There is a theory that the origin of these straw birds was to keep the real ones from stealing bits of the roof for their nests. I can tell you it doesn’t work!

  7. AnnetteM September 20, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I love grasses too and so really enjoyed your photos. I have just bought a couple of Stipa Giganteas. I know where one is going, but not so sure about the other now as I think it might block the path!! I have been admiring them in a friend’s garden and now just wish I had bought them sooner as they have a lot of growing to do. The Miscanthus and Sedum look wonderful together. I wonder if I could find a space?

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      I’ve had a Stipa gigantea before and they do get large. I planted it in the bottom border of our then garden, next to the post and rail fence between us and the field on the other side. It was just starting to produce flower spikes and I was so proud of it. Then one afternoon I looked out and saw each and every plume disappear into the mouth of a cow, leaving me just the stalks sticking up into the sky. Unimpressed!

  8. homeslip September 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Mmm, I was thinking of filling the space left by my recently deceased Rosa A Shropshire Lad with either miscanthus or Calamagrostis. Alternatively I can play safe and divide a clump of Panicum which picks up the pink of the sedum growing in the same border. In a heavy wet soil and during a rainy winter mature miscanthus has a tendency to collapse in a soggy mess, as I know from experience. Rosemoor is looking very good in your photos. I’m glad you found so much inspiration. The spindle tree is perfect. I love the pink and orange seedheads set against the colour of the leaves.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the tip on miscanthus. Everywhere is pretty wet here so it probably needs to go on the slope where it is well drained at least. But not too high.. or then they’d be wind which probably wouldn’t help either. It’s never easy is it?

  9. Marian St.Clair September 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    The Stipa gigantea caught my eye too on my recent visit, especially in Beth Chatto’s garden where it is dotted around the Gravel Garden to great effect. Your photo of the Stone Garden is stunning…the light was just right to punch up the accent colors. Have you seen the Glasshouse Borders at Wisley in September? They are another good example of what you are aiming for.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Both Beth Chatto’s garden and Wisley are on my list but it would need a stay ‘up country’ at some point, they are four or five hours away. We used to live quite close to Wisley and I was there often but haven’t been back since the glasshouse was built. I’ve seen pictures of the borders though and it’s definitely what I’m aiming for. Sounds like you went to some fabulous places on your trip!

  10. Caro September 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    The RHS certainly know how to do gardens! I think autumn is my favourite time at Wisley as well. I adore the grasses with sedums but would prefer the hot border without the bright red salvias; for me, it jars with the yellows and purples. Or perhaps I’m just really off the red pelargoniums in my own garden – they’re too brash! And I really really want some of that kale for next year – yum! Thanks for sharing, looks like you had a glorious day out!

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      I have my eye on that Kale too. It just looked so good in a mixed planting. You can see from the photo how the light shines through it turning the mid section of the leaves bright green. Looked at from the other side the same leaves are almost black.

  11. Anna September 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Oh you are fortunate to have Rosemoor almost on your doorstep Jessica. It must be great to visit for seasonal inspiration. Almost a two hour drive for us to get to the nearest RHS garden but we live in hope that the promised new garden in the north might be nearer. I could not get to stipa gigantea established until I took a plant to the allotment where it’s flourishing. That eunoymus is a gem.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      We still don’t go often enough. And this weekend I found myself in parts of the garden I’ve never seen before even with all the times we have visited. There’s always so much to see. It does help to have a good garden reasonably close by. If they can do it, then so can we.. in theory!!

  12. Kris P September 20, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful garden! I especially love that photo of the Sedum with the Miscanthus – I wish I could transfer that vignette to my own garden.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      It’s a lovely vignette isn’t it. I shall try it here, whether I will be successful or not is another matter entirely!

  13. sweetbriardreams September 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Such a magnificent garden and one that I could lose myself in. Love the thatch shelter. Very tidy! xx

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      You’d love it I’m sure. When I win the lottery a thatched shelter will be on the list!

  14. jannaschreier September 21, 2015 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Rosemoor has been high on my list for quite a while (along with the rooms you can stay in). The problem is that there are so many gardens high on my list. Your photos are wonderful; I imagine it to be a bit more gardeny than Wisley or Hyde Hall due to it’s more intimate size, but I’ll just have to get there next year and see for myself. Rain? You never mentioned rain before, Jessica?

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

      It is a lot more intimate, not just because of the size but also because part of it used to be an actual garden, owned by Lady Anne Palmer. For history see (here). Rain is mentioned too, strangely enough.
      If you come, bring a brolly. And do let me know, we could have a cream tea in the cafe and bore the menfolk rigid with all the new ideas we will glean..

      • jannaschreier September 21, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

        Devonshire cream teas and garden chat? Sounds like an excellent plan. Looking forward to it!

        • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply

          You’re on!

  15. annamadeit September 21, 2015 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Oh, I really enjoyed that! I agree with Kris – that Sedum/Miscanthus photo was stunning. What a wonderful vista! I could totally loose myself in that…

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna. Must do more garden visiting next year, trouble is I have more ideas already than I know what to do with.

  16. Brian Skeys September 21, 2015 at 7:05 am - Reply

    We visited Rosemoor with our garden club for a second time three years ago,in August, everyone thought the Hot Border was stunning. A very inspirational garden.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      The Hot Border must have been at its peak then, well worth seeing.

  17. Joanne September 21, 2015 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Utterly delightful x

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks Joanne, it was.

  18. Sam September 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Oh, I do love Rosemoor. We haven’t been for about 8 years, so it’s lovely to see it here. Gorgeous, inspirational, fab. That Euonymus planipes is lush, as is the Acer rubrum, Stipa gigantea, and… 🙂

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      That’s the trouble isn’t it… my ‘must have list’ is sooooo long.

  19. Donna@Gardens Eye View September 21, 2015 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Oh what a gorgeous spot….I loved so many of them and those hydrangeas, wow…but my favorite is that Hot Garden. It has so many of my native plants that grow here now in late summer and fall. A stunning display.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      The heleniums were doing really well, but I didn’t see so many echinacea. Perhaps it isn’t just me who struggles with them in our heavy, wet clay soil. Lots of crocosmia too.. well behaved!

  20. Angie September 21, 2015 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I sit her chocked with the cold and your blog cheered me up no end Jessica. Much appreciate you sharing with us. I am absolutely ignoring that Euonymus – I will not be tempted despite the fact I could possibly find it a home in my side garden.
    So many wonderful borders and plenty of inspiration to be had.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Do you see the colour just beginning in those Euonymus leaves? Go on.. you can do it 🙂

  21. Rosie September 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Marvellous indeed – thank you for sharing your wonderful photos:)

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      It was a pleasure Rosie 🙂

  22. Jennifer September 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    What a stunning garden. I love the grasses in your first photo, they’re very lush. I have some grasses in my yard that I enjoy but they’re scrubbier. Eventually, I’d like to clear out some of the sages I have and replace them with more grasses. I like the Mediterranean look in a garden and fortunately that’s one style we can do here in the high desert. I need to replace some lavenders next spring and have been researching the different types. I hope to have more variety in them this time around, not just the basic French type.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I always think of the Mediterranean when I see pictures of your garden, even without the sea! It’s a style that fits in very well. I struggle with things like lavender, they really do not like all the rain.

  23. frayed at the edge September 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    I enjoyed my stroll round the garden with you – it is very helpful to have a companion who knows what things are called! I love the photo with the pot.

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      The photo came out a bit dark, the pot really lit up that area in reality. It was quite late in the day, hence the low sun, but it made photography quite difficult at times. Thanks Anne.

  24. Sarah September 21, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    It was wonderful to see Rosemoor in the autumn, it looks so different to when we visited in March. How many plants did you return home with? I can voucher for Stipa gigantea too. We had it in our last garden with the afternoon sun shining through it. We have also planted it here but it hasn’t produced any golden grasses this year. Sarah x

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure I quite believe it myself but… no plants. Even Mike put his hand against my forehead to make sure I didn’t have a fever. Fear not, however. There is a cunning plan. Last year Rosemoor had an end of season sale and I achieved a good haul. I am saving myself and my pennies.

  25. CJ September 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    What a glorious garden. I love, love, love the cottage garden and shelter, and the sedum and miscanthus, also that first hydrangea, it’s quite extraordinary. Also that lovely stone vase. So much inspiration there, it makes me happy that gardens like this exist. Glad you had such a lovely visit. CJ xx

    • Jessica September 21, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks CJ. It’s lovely to see all the plants and wonderful ideas. If only I had the budget, and the army of gardeners, to put them all in place for me.

  26. Janet/Plantaliscious September 22, 2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Glorious, full of inspiration. I’m off to Plas Cadnant again next week, in search of some late season inspiration, and still go back to the shots I took of the swathes of perennials and grasses at RHS Harlow Carr last Autumn. Its translating what works on a huge scale into something that delights on the smaller scale I have available to me. Stipa gigantea is a target plant for me too, though placement will be the issue, can’t block the view of the sea, but want the grass heads to catch the morning sun…

    • Jessica September 22, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Having just seen your Plas Cadnant post that place would inspire anybody. Wow! I’m going to have to find a way to get there. Although the work/money/time required to do something like that here, even on a much smaller scale, would be mind blowing.

      • Janet/Plantaliscious September 23, 2015 at 9:02 am - Reply

        Ooh, yes, please do, have a little holiday up here and take in Karen (An Artist’s Garden) and Kate (Beangenie) plus Bodnant, Plas Newydd… We can offer a bed and a warm welcome in a scruffy little house in a spectacular location…

        • Jessica September 23, 2015 at 11:43 am - Reply

          You’re very kind Janet. Having part Welsh blood I’ve spent a bit of time in the mid part of the country but never been to the north. To be rectified!

  27. germac4 September 22, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    I’m a bit late in getting to Rusty Duck this week, but what a treat seeing all those lovely plants, gardens, hedges, cool expanses of lawn and lushness…not to mention that gorgeous little cottage with a duck on the roof…thanks for the inspiration..

    • Jessica September 22, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      The cottage (although it’s smaller than you might think) is lovely isn’t it. It’s a great place to rest and watch the world go by, even when it isn’t raining!

  28. Amy at love made my home September 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    It is beautiful even at this time of year isn’t it. The Stipa is wonderful and I noticed they had some lovely penstemons and sedums there too. Just perfect! xx

    • Jessica September 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Amy, welcome back. Glad you had a good holiday.
      Yep, there’s a lot to see. And a lot of new plants added to the list!

  29. Christina September 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, thanks for the marvelous tour through Rosemoor. My husband and I visited this garden last year in June and it is quite amazing to me how much it has changed when you see in its autumn gown. The gardens are simply masterfully planted and one can get so much inspiration from wondering them or simply looking at your beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them on your blog. I truly enjoyed this post!
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica September 23, 2015 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Thanks Christina. I’m glad you got a chance to visit Rosemoor, it’s a lovely garden. The autumn colours are really only just starting so we’ll probably go back in a couple of weeks or so. By then it will have really changed!

  30. Helene September 23, 2015 at 1:33 am - Reply

    I haven’t ventured into the world of grasses yet, but I would really like to – with a sunnier garden and slightly more space I might tip my toe at least, and your opening of the post is sure to give me inspiration.

    I am still dealing with the hard landscaping of my garden and your post gave me some nice ideas – I wonder if you will recognise one of them when that time comes!
    Thanks for the tour, great photos as always 🙂

    • Jessica September 23, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

      I’ll be intrigued to see what you have done Helene. You’re in the great position of being able to make changes to the hard landscaping before you start to plant, always the best way!

  31. natalie October 3, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Spectacular gardens! I especially love the tri-coloured hydrangea. And that Black Magic kale is my very favourite. I have lots in my garden.

    • Jessica October 3, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      I’m definitely going to try the kale next year. If it tastes as good as it looks it will be heaven.

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