By Maureen Panchen
THE GOLD RUSH
The first whispering days of autumn coolness bring in a shimmering wash of leaves and clear, bright mornings in the Cerne Valley.
With the appearance of this season, Minterne Gardens is hard to beat for its stunning array of colours on leaves, berries and barks.
Walking under the leafy shelter of Acers and passing the ancient Metasequoia which flank Cherry Tree Avenue, visitors will arrive at the Himalayan Hut, where they can contemplate the world at a distance while surrounded by the peace and tranquillity of this 27-acre wild, woodland garden.
Amongst Minterne Garden’s arboreal collection, feature some of the most glorious Acers –
On the island above Eleanor’s Bridge Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ and Acer cappadocicum provide autumnal reflections in the water; the ‘Osakazuki’ is a cutting taken from the original Osakazuki in the garden which dates from 1925 and sourced in Yokahama.
Acer palmatum – we may be biased but nevertheless think that the colour and shape is near perfection!
Some other species Acers you will see in the garden are A. nikoense, A. griseum, A. maximowiczianum, A.rufinerve, A.rubrum,
Other notable trees worth a mention at Minterne Gardens-
Cercidiphyllum japonicum which releases its delicious toffee fragrance into the air during the autumn.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ – often regarded as native in southern England, some evidence suggests it didn’t arrive here until about 4,000 BC.
Liquidamber styraciflua – also known as American sweetgum, hazel pine, redgum, satin-walnut, star-leaved gum, alligatorwood or simply, sweetgum.
Images Courtesy of Peter Bootton. Maureen Panchen, Jeremy Walker
Gardens open daily 10am – 6pm, Entrance £5 (Season tickets available here). On the A352 Dorchester to Sherborne road.
Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm * 1st February to 11th November * Admission Price £6.00 (Children under 12 Free)
Season Tickets Available Here
Dogs welcome on leads * Parking is FREE for visitors in the car park opposite St Andrews Church * Minterne currently offers a selection of cream teas (weather permitting - please phone ahead to confirm) * Please note: Unfortunately, Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs * Minterne House itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public without prior consent.