Fall Garden Tour

Annual and perennial garden with a statue of a child reading a book

If you have a chance to tour an established garden, whether it is public or private, take it. It is a great opportunity to gain inspiration and ideas. About a month ago, I had the opportunity to tour Mary Herring’s garden. I have heard about it many times but I’ve never been there before. You might think that walking through a garden in September would be borderline depressing, after all, what are you really going to see? Signs that winter is coming? Most of the flowers are done blooming and the trees are starting to lose their leaves. Isn’t it time to think about the end of the garden season? Shouldn’t we start cleaning up and wait for spring to come again?

Oh no! There is so much to see.

In the fall, the structure of the garden becomes more apparent without the distraction of the spring and summer flowers.  The trees and the hardscaping come to the forefront and showcase the annuals that are still thriving and the fall blooming plants like asters and sedum shine like jewels against the fading foliage of the rest of the garden.

Annual and perennial garden with a statue of a child reading a book Rocky garden path framed by perennial flowers and trees Paved garden path surrounded by petunias and perennial flowers

The coleus were breath-taking and so were the irisene and alternanthera.

Mixed coleus garden Colorful annuals under a tree

She had touches of whimsy scattered throughout the garden.

Pottery bird with trailing plant fairy statue surrounded by Gold hosta and varigated lamium

She told me about how she and her late husband created the water features from scratch and that her children were represented by the statues playing in the stream.

Heron statues in pond Statue of a boy overlooking a pond Water feature with statues of children

There were so many hostas. Mary has a collection of over 600 different varieties.

Hosta garden under trees

Even with so many hosta to choose from, she had no problem picking ‘Touch of Class’ as her favorite. Due to the wet weather this year, she has had a lot of trouble with slugs this summer and ‘Touch of Class’ showed no slug damage. The leaves are incredibly thick which helps to make them unattractive to slugs.

Touch of class hosta

One of my favorite things about seeing a mature, established garden is that you see what you can do if you set your mind to it. When she talked about how they created the water features, berm, and grotto, you could tell that every part of the garden had a story behind how and why it became what it is now.

Heron statues framed by tree and flowers Fall blooming perennials The grotto entrance

To hear those stories and to meet people that are passionate about plants helps to inspire me to take my love of plants and gardening to the next level.

Written by

Cathy Maxson is Sargent's Gardens Perennial Growing manager. In addition to making sure Sargent's grown plants thrive, she enjoys growing in her own garden, canning fruits and vegetables, traveling, and walking her dogs.