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Garden news and events for October

Garden news and events for October

Discover the unmissable events, garden news and the very best gardens to visit this month.

All the latest garden news and the best UK garden events to look out for in October.

Garden News & Events

Majestic Trees becomes an EOT

Majestic Trees, winner of the UK’s Grower of the Year a record 4 times and twice Silver
medallists at the AIPH International Grower of the Year, has announced that Steve McCurdy,
Managing Director, and his wife Janet, have sold 74% of Majestic Trees to their team, via an
Employee Ownership Trust. This transaction, effective September 30th 2023, was driven by
a long-term desire to reward the Majestic Trees team, many of whom have been with the
company for many years and have helped Steve achieve the vision he had when he established
Majestic Trees and subsequently opened for business in 2002. Majestic Trees grows 550
varieties of trees in AirPots, from 35 to 5,000 litre and up to 12 meters tall, along with instant
hedging, and supplies many small to large gardens as well as estates and commercial projects
across the UK, as well as shows, such as RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court. majestictrees.co.uk

A close up of the Threatened Plant of the Year 2023 winner, Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Contorta (L). Credit: David Ford

Winner of Threatened Plant of the Year 2023

The rare Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Contorta’ – an ornamental quince – has been crowned the winner of Plant Heritage’s Threatened Plant of the Year 2023 competition.

To Plant Heritage’s knowledge, the winning plant is thought to be only one of five of its kind still known to exist in the UK, and is also only one of two surviving Chaenomeles cultivars in the UK to have twisting branches and larger, more open flowers. It was announced as victorious at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and belongs to National Collection Holder David Ford, who has cared for it since 2020.

The Cliveden Literary Festival

30 September & 1 October 2023

Set in the palatial grounds of Cliveden House, the Cliveden Literary Festival will feature speakers Zadie Smith, Tom Holland, Mary Beard and Maggie O’Farrell this year. Described by actor Brian Cox as “[an] extraordinary environment”, the festival brings together literary lovers from across the country for lively discussion and debate in a house with a unique history as a literary salon that welcomed writers and thinkers George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Tickets from £110. clivedenliteraryfestival.org.

Autumn Colour at Hever

1-31 October, Kent 

The team at Hever Castle will be showcasing their dye garden and educating visitors on how natural plants are used to bring vibrant colour to clothing, as well as demonstrating how a dye garden can be planted at home. Across the month, stimulating autumnal workshops will be on offer, including a colourful container workshop, tree tours, a talk on dahlias and a fungi pop-up. The 150 acres of formal gardens are bursting with horticultural treasures and the Woodland Walk will boast the sunny yellows, deep reds, and warm brown shades of crisp autumn leaves, the perfect trail for a leisurely stroll uder the turning trees. Adult: £17.50. hevercastle.co.uk 

‘Thirty Gardens’ by Francis Hamel

11 October – 3 November, London

Landscape painter Francis Hamel records the essence of the English garden through a journey of thirty leading UK gardens in this touring exhibition hosted by John Martin Gallery. Alongside paintings of iconic gardens Hidcote, Sissinghurst and Great Dixter, the private gardens of Tom Stuart Smith, Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson have also been captured in the artist’s work. Francis Hamel will be in-conversation throughout the exhibition’s duration. jmlondon.com 

The Walled Garden. Credit: Holkham Estate

Walled Garden Walking Tours

Explore Holkham Estate’s six acre walled garden, passing through the various rooms such as the kitchen garden and the cutting garden on a Walled Garden Walking Tour. The newly renovated buildings such as The Messenger Glasshouse and the Samuel Wyatt Vinery are bursting with horticultural gems for you to discover. holkham.co.uk.

Credit: Pete Huggins

Sean Scully at Houghton Hall  

 Until 29th October, Norfolk 

Celebrated artist Sean Scully has taken over the grounds and the historic interiors of Norfolk gem Houghton Hall for a sculpture exhibition that showcases works from small maquettes to monumental open steel structures. Scully was motivated by landscape and thought deeply and profoundly about the preservation of our environment. His creative works are imbued with a passion for the natural world and Houghton’s palatial grounds are the perfect backdrop for his inspiring pieces. Adult: £20. houghtonhall.com 

Credit: The Eden Project

Towering Tree Giants at The Eden Project

21 – 29 October 2023, Cornwall

Towering Tree Giants will take root at the Eden Project in Cornwall on a special quest this Halloween – they need help to protect the world’s forests. Uncover their hiding places and discover ancient wisdom, extraordinary tales and enchanting performances. Get up close to hear their secrets and learn how to become a forest guardian. There are three giants to discover around the Eden Project site, the tallest standing at a staggering 8 metres. Each of the giants is interactive and has its own enchanting story to discover.  Expect immersive storytelling and performances, wand-making workshops and ice skating at Eden’s spooky ice rink. edenproject.com

The National Brain Appeal’s Rare Space Garden, designed by Charlie Hawkes for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 and relocated to Exbury Gardens in Hampshire. Photo credit: Britt Willoughby Dyer

Gardens for Good Causes Exhibition

18th September – 2nd October 2023

The Garden Museum will host the second annual Gardens for Good Causes Exhibition, showcasing the fifteen gardens supported by Project Giving Back (PGB) at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. The exhibition will celebrate the latest PGB garden cohort and highlight the work of some amazing charities large and small that have benefited from a partnership with PGB in 2023 to raise their profile and encourage support. The immersive exhibition will bring to life the 2023 gardens with displays of images, information and artefacts from some of the show gardens, interspersed with plant displays inspired by the gardens and curated by Humaira Ikram. gardenmuseum.org.uk

NGS Garden of the Month

Credit: Val Corbet

Regency House, Devon

A five-acre plantsman’s garden approached across a little ford with many interesting and unusual trees and shrubs. There’s a walled vegetable and fruit garden, lake, ponds, bog plantings and sweeping lawns and visitors can try their hand at identifying plants with the very comprehensive and amusing plant list. Horses, Dexter cattle and Jacob sheep help create a beautifully tranquil space. Plenty of space to eat your own picnic or enjoy homemade teas.  

Regency House, Hemyock, Devon EX15 3RQ. Opens Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October 14:00 –17:00. Admission: Adult £5.00, children free. Refreshments: home-made teas on terrace. ngs.org.uk