Orange October at the Gardens of Easton Lodge – from pumpkins to Japanese maple at open day

Pumpkins at The Gardens of Easton Lodge.

Pumpkins at The Gardens of Easton Lodge. - Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

The Gardens of Easton Lodge turn orange in October – with pumpkins ripened and trees turning to their autumn hues.

To mark the changing of the season, there will be lots of fun for visitors to the open day on Sunday, October 17.

Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and visitors will be asked to guess the weight of the biggest.

Guests will also love the tromboncino squashes and the birdcage gourds, which have fought their way up large A-frames to enjoy the best of the limited sunshine we have had this year.

In October, the final flushes of flowers in the Italian Garden and the walled kitchen garden are a joy. 

The dahlias, roses and fuchsias are usually still looking stunning and asters and sedum are providing nectar for the last butterflies.

Autumn also brings many interesting fungi, on the deadwood around the glade. And, of course, the trees are starting to turn yellow, orange and red.

Japanese maple at The Gardens of Easton Lodge.

The Japanese maple at The Gardens of Easton Lodge is likely to be the oldest in Essex. - Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

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The Japanese maple is one of the stars of the show at the gardens at Little Easton near Great Dunmow.

This tree is a county champion. The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust does not know when it was planted, but it is likely to be the oldest in the county as it is the tallest and has the biggest girth.

The scarlet oak is another firm favourite at Easton Lodge, as it frames the top of the glade, with leaves turning from yellow to a deep red.

The trust’s archivists will be displaying records of Harold Peto’s Japanese gardens at Easton Lodge.

When Harold Peto brought ideas from his travels in Japan to the Countess of Warwick’s gardens in 1902 it was really novel.

The first book in English about Japanese gardens was published in 1893 and many of the well-known Japanese gardens in the UK were established after the Japan-Britain Exhibition of 1910.

Japanese garden at The Gardens of Easton Lodge.

The Japanese garden at The Gardens of Easton Lodge, designed by Harold Peto, included a tea house over the lake. - Credit: The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust

Peto’s designs included a tea house, which extended over the lake, lanterns and pagodas in garden areas around what is now known as the Glade.

Unfortunately most of Peto’s Japanese heritage at Easton Lodge has been lost over the years, but his inspiration lives on and visitors will see how the volunteers are using it in bringing the gardens back to life.

Visitors on October 17 will also enjoy a range of stalls and music provided by the local folk duo, Karen and Tony.

Trust volunteers will provide hot bacon, cheese or hummus rolls and a wide selection of homemade cakes, as well as tea, coffee and cold drinks.

The gardens are open from 11am to 5pm on October 17, with last entry at 4pm.

Tickets can be purchased in advance, through the gardens’ website and Facebook page or direct through Trybooking.

Visitors can also pay on the gate. The entrance fee is £5.50 for adults and there’s free entry for children under 16.