SUMMER PROGRESSES INTO AUTUMN COLOURS, MINTERNE MINIATURES, OWLS AND OCTOBER NIGHT SKIES
by Maureen Panchen
As summer begins to fade dawning the arrival of autumn, here at Minterne Himalayan Gardens there are some wonderful arrays of colour beginning to
show on our magnificent collection of plants.
Synonymous with Rhododendrons, Acers & Magnolias, and set around lakes, streams and cascades, Minterne’s 27-acre garden will give you the taste of autumn in the
Himalayas. The stunning warm colours of the leaves, berries and barks will entrance you as you walk around this tranquil garden.
Over 200 Acers will delight any visitor and together with many mature specimen trees with their tints of scarlet, russet, pumpkin and yellow, dazzle In their intensity. Floriferous displays of “Minterne Miniatures”, dainty woodland cyclamen and autumn crocus brighten up corners of this wild woodland garden. “A must for garden fans, yet a joy for all.”
Why not ‘join the gold rush’ and visit Minterne for the autumnal scenery?
OCTOBER AT MINTERNE
Mark Bobin – Head Gardener
This month the gardener’s have been busy, bulb planting for next spring. It seems a long way off but we need to get the bulbs in so they have time to produce new roots before the onset of winter. We have planted Narcissus (Daffodil), Fritillaria , Allium and Puschkinia. Along with the already naturalized Snowdrops will give a fantastic display from February till June!!
It is also a good time of year for Tree planting as the heat of the Summer has passed, plus more rain will settle the Trees into their new home. I’m very excited to be planting some Quercus Rubra (Red Oak), with it’s super Autumn colour and a Magnolia grandiflora ‘Gallisonniere’, a summer flowering Magnolia and Everegreen, plus (not strictly a tree) some Tree ferns. Tree cover’s so vital to Minterne, as it provides the all important dappled shade needed by our rare Rhododendrons and other great plants.
TAWNY OWLS AND BIRDS
While we don’t claim to be Expert Ornithologists here at Minterne we have nevertheless recorded a total of 78 bird species seen to date in the gardens!
One of which is the Tawny Owl (latin: Strix Aluco) of the Strigidae family. Normally the size of a pigeon, it has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding dark eyes, with mainly reddish brown above and paler underneath. It is a widespread breeding species in England, Wales and Scotland but not found in Ireland. Birds are mainly residents with established pairs probably never leaving their territories. Young birds disperse from breeding grounds in autumn.
Tawny owls can often be heard at night here at Minterne but are seen far less frequently. Although they can be seen all year round, sightings usually only occur if you disturb them inadvertently from their roost site in woodland up against a tree trunk or among ivy. Look for pellets below roosting places.
Some species migrate to their wintering grounds in one non-stop flight and others do it in several short stages. Before departing they gorge themselves on berries to build up their fat reserves, which can then be converted to energy for flight. Their body weight may increase by up to 50%.
Autumn Night Sky
Autumn is underway in the Northern Hemisphere and if you like to sky gaze you will probably have already noticed signs of the season’s change.
Many of the striking star groups and our beautiful Milky Way galaxy are still visible in the Western sky. The appearance now of the brilliant star Capella
ascending above the northeast horizon in the evening hours is a promise of the chillier nights to come.
In just another few weeks the constellation ORION will be dominating the night skies, reminding us of the approaching winter season!
You may even strike lucky and see our Tawny Owls skimming the night skies over Minterne Gardens so keep your eyes peeled!
Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm * 1st February to 8th 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.