Kirsty McLean has created hundreds of garden designs, for clients all over the North-east of Scotland and many community gardens in her work with Beechgrove Garden as guest designer since 2001.

With the sun gradually falling in the sky along with the temperature, my heart is always heavy at the thought of the summer ending, and that is how I feel until I find myself in the early morning sunshine, looking at clear blue skies with that refreshing nip in the air and notice the wonderfully vibrant array of colours that surround me  as the leaves turn.

Some may take off to see New England in the ‘fall’ but for me, it’s time to make my pilgrimage to Speyside because here and all around Scotland we have our own spectacular show of incredible autumnal colours. In the garden too, the leaves of the otherwise bland spindle tree Euonymous Europaeus are burning bright red as are the small dense leaves of the Berberis against the olden yellow/orange leaves of Acer Shirasawanum ‘Aureum’.


The rich red berries of Pyracantha, Cotoneaster and the Rowan Tree against the green of their leaf makes for a splendid show and with many roses still in bloom we can enjoy some remaining flowers in the garden until the first frosts. But, with the autumn garden comes a few chores to be completed. It’s time to bring in tender plants and fleece those that are in the ground, trim back perennials and tidy leaves into the compost bin.

This is a good time of year to divide perennials and to transplant shrubs, plant shrubs, trees and bare root roses when the ground is still warm but moist. October is also perfect for planting spring and summer flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, lilies, Allium and Crocosmia but I would suggest waiting until November to plant tulips. With chores finished, I look forward to cosying up by the heat of a crackling log fire, and maybe the transition of autumn into the winter isn’t so bad after all.

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