Design and planting
The plants in the Autumn garden have mainly been chosen for their effect in the autumn. Not only the perennials and their way of flowering, but also the shrubs and trees with autumn colours or berries and the ornamental grasses. The planting is in a natural way. Not traditional as in the Old Experimental garden for example, but mixed in together as in the New border. The garden is partly surrounded by Acer campestre, a hedge of field maple. The fencing on the boundary with the Garden of Squares is covered with the Virginia creeper Parthenocussus quinquefolia, which is a crimson red in the Autumn. On the south side different sorts of conifers form a compact green wall. On the west side one can look through the plants onto the grounds of the former Moerheim nursery. The path in the Autumn garden is curved and laid slightly lower so that you walk through the plants. The present design was made in 2002 by the Mien Ruys landscape gardening bureau.
As mentioned earlier, this garden has undergone many changes. Originally it was a rose garden with square beds and blocks of Box. As the trees on the south side created more and more shade, this spot became less suitable for roses. Possibly around 1970, part of the rose garden was replaced by beds of perennials and a few strong sorts of roses which form the present Garden of Squares. When this spot proved to be unsuitable for roses and the garden was extended in 1974, the roses were moved to the Blowing bubbles experiment.
The other part of the Rose garden was replaced with the Heather garden. At that time heather gardens had become a rage and at the request of visitors Mien Ruys designed her version. She was not impressed by heather gardens, herself. She thought heather suggested an indefinite space and did not belong in gardens. Also the fact that heathers looked the same all year round did not please her. The Heather garden was designed with a lowered path that entered a circle shaped space. Different sorts of heathers in lilac and crimson with a greyish leaf were used. Ornamental grasses and perennials were added with the same colour scheme. Along a second path, yellow leafed heathers, yellow and gold coloured shrubs, conifers and perennials were planted. The beds were separated from each other by small conifers and the remaining blocks of Box from the Rose garden. The boundary with the Garden of Squares consisted of a ‘’ hedge on legs’, formed by the Golden Alder, Alnus incana ‘Aurea’.
Around 1987 the Heather garden was changed into a Bee garden. The heather had been too much in the shade of the surrounding trees. Heathers that had died in the frost or had gone mouldy were replaced by plants producing nectar or pollen for bees and a beehive was placed in the garden. A number of Box squares had survived all the changes on this spot and formed a green base for the Bee garden. However, the plants suitable to attract bees did not get enough sunlight either. The hedge of Golden Alder was removed because it was infected with the Alder leaf beetle and eventually the Autumn garden was created in 2002.